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Fated (Chapter 9)

Letting out a deep sigh of frustration, I finished applying my makeup in the large mirror. I was still irritated that I had an evening planned out for me, even down to the small details of my clothing. I'd spoken to Anna earlier in the day about our dinner plans. The only thing that made this night bearable was knowing at some point in the evening Stefan and Lukas would meet up with us for drinks and dancing.

I rolled my eyes in the mirror as I thought of how excited Lukas was about going out as a group. He was as giddy as a school girl going on her first date, bouncing with enthusiasm as he picked through my closet, finding me the perfect outfit.

My thoughts drifted back to the events earlier in the day, my fingers absently running through the tousled waves of my hair.

A yoga mat was rolled out on the sunny patio and I was standing in the Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe pose, my breathing even and slow. Stefan's long body was stretched languidly in the lounge chair facing me and his sunglass covered eyes observed every movement of my body. We hadn't exchanged a word but the air was heavy with controlled lust. He never took his eyes off of me, his gaze heated as I moved from one pose to the next. More than once I'd seen him stroke himself through his shorts.

Lukas appeared on the patio beside of my mat. "So this is why Stefan can't stay away from you. I didn't think humans could be that flexible."

"Lukas." The solitary word coming from Stefan's lips resonated with quiet power. Lukas pursed his lips, impatiently putting his hands on his hips.

I glanced over to see Lukas and Stefan's eyes locked in a silent conversation. Lukas finally gave into him, rolling his eyes and sticking his tongue out at Stefan defiantly.

"Josie, are you finished doing your contortion routine? Will you come with me?" Lukas questioned, his voice going up an octave in his excitement. He was bouncing on the balls of his feet, his eyes gleaming. I knew I might as well get this over with instead of dragging it out.

"Go with him, vackra. Resistance is futile."

My head snapped around to stare at Stefan, my eyebrows raising in surprise. "You're quoting Star Trek now?"

A quiet laugh shook his broad chest. He crossed his arms behind his head and reclined further in the chair, the muscles in his arms and chest rippling with the movement. A broad smirk broke across his chiseled face.

"There is much you do not know about me. I am a man of intrigue."

Snorting, I lowered my leg to the ground. I bent over and rolled up the mat, placing it on a small table. I put my hands on my hips in mock annoyance and my mental voice was matter-of-fact when I sent him my thoughts.

"Technically you're not a 'man', Stefan. And I know enough about you to safely say you're full of smart-assed arrogance."

Lukas was a blur of movement as he grabbed my arm, pulling me along with him as he led me quickly into the house. I was struggling to keep up with his speed and long strides as he dragged me along behind him.

He pushed me into Stefan's bedroom, his hands proudly gesturing to a pile of bags on the bed. An immense smile was spreading across his handsome, aristocratic face.

"You wanted to show me bags? Lukas…" I said, a frown darkening my face as I gave him a look of contempt. I wasn't in the mood to play games with him.

Lukas dramatically rolled his eyes at me and let out a deep sigh. "Not the bags, Josie. Let me show what's inside of the bags."

Watching with wide eyes, my mouth dropped as Lucas began pulling clothes of varying color and style out of the bags. I lost track of the number of dresses, blouses and jeans he tossed on the bed, gasping as I watched him start to stack shoe boxes on the floor. My eyes took note that all of the tags and boxes were from expensive designers and stores.

"Lukas, what the hell is all of this?" I swept my hand, gesturing to the piles of clothing stacked on the bed. He was digging through yet another bag, stopping to glance up at me with a look of exasperation on his refined face.

"I was so excited yesterday that I went shopping with Anna. You need dressier clothing, Josie. You can't live in tank tops and yoga pants," Lukas said pointedly, his eyes critically sweeping over my outfit.

Stunned by his bluntness, I walked with trepidation to the edge of the bed, eying the clothes with confusion.  My fingers drifted over the piles of clothing and I felt the flush of anger spread across my face.

"Why do I need all of this, Lucas? I have plenty of clothes and the last thing I need is a personal shopper," I muttered through clenched teeth.

Lucas sat down on the edge of the bed, crossing his legs and staring at me with his icy blue eyes. He wrapped his long fingers around his knee. He turned his head to the side, silently staring at me. A small smile touched his thin lips.

"You need this for many reasons, Josie. You've been living a half of a life and hiding from who you are for some reason. And you don't have to tell me why that is." He put up his hand, sighing. His eyes became distant as if lost in a memory. "I can relate to you in many ways. I was considered an outcast when I was a human so I was forced to hide what I truly was. Being a homosexual man wasn't an acceptable thing to be when I was a human. Stefan saw past that and chose to be my friend. The two of you are obviously going to be together so I thought we should also be friends."

I unclenched my jaw and sat down next to Lukas, patting him lightly on the leg with my hand. He looked at my hand for a moment, his eyes misty as he quickly glanced away to focus his attention on a shoe box.

"Lukas, you don't need to buy me anything to be my friend. I appreciate the thought, I do. It's really not necessary," I said, trying to make my voice gentle and soothing. I couldn't stay angry at him. He was aggravating and impetuous at times but his intentions were genuine.

"Stefan is truly happy for the first time since I've known him, Josie. You have to understand how happy that I am that you're finally together. And sweetheart, I didn't buy you anything. You can thank Mr. Romance and his Black American Express card for your new wardrobe." His cool hand covered mine for a moment. He stood up, walking across the room to open the doors to the expansive walk in closet. He began moving quickly from the bed to the closet, hanging dresses and blouses on hangers. Our little heart to heart chat was apparently over and I was left wondering why Stefan had decided to purchase me a new wardrobe.

He came to a sudden halt beside of me, his eyes sparkling as if he'd read my mind.. "Let it go, Josie. What's done is done. He loves you and he'd give you the moon if he could. Don't make a big deal over this. Now go get that hot body of yours in the shower and get ready. I'll get an outfit ready for you."

Shaking myself slightly, I pulled myself out of my memory. Walking into the bedroom, I admired the emerald green dress draped across the bed. Picking it up carefully, I moved to stand in front of the full-length mirror. I carefully pulled the chiffon fabric over my body, adjusting my breasts in the ruched bodice of the strapless dress.

My fingers were reaching for the zipper when I heard Stefan approaching. I smiled when I saw his reflection in the mirror, stopping to lean against the door frame. I heard his sharp intake of breath as his eyes moved slowly over the length of my body.

"Can you zip me up?" I asked, grasping my hair in my hands and lightly lifting it away from the zipper.

He pressed off of the frame and slammed the door closed behind him, swaggering to stand behind me. His large hands pulled the zipper slowly up the fabric of the dress and his blue eyes locked on mine in the mirror, compelling and magnetic. His hands lingered on my shoulders, slowly running a finger up against the nape of my neck. I shivered from the feel of his hands on my skin, cool and sensual.

"It is a pity to see your body covered, even if you do look beautiful. Every man will want to take you home with him. I am the lucky one that has the pleasure of taking you…home." His voice was low and smug. He stretched out on the bed, his dark jeans snug over his muscular thighs and his white dress shirt was open, leaving his sculpted chest exposed.

"It's a good thing I love an incredibly sexy vampire. And you know I don't want to go, Stefan. We could just stay here…you could just unzip this dress and we could just forget about going out…." I said, doing my best to sound sexy and persuasive as my eyes roamed over the length of his body on the bed behind me.

Stefan raised an eyebrow in amusement, flashing me fanged smile. "As much as I would enjoy getting you out of that incredibly sexy dress, we both agreed."

"I know, I know," I mumbled, putting my hands on my hips.

I was starting to hate it when he was right.

And as much as I didn't want to go, even I had to admit the dress was stunning. It stopped right above my knees and was snug in all of the right places. It had a thin, black silk belt that tied in the front of the dress around the waist. The deep green of the dress made my eyes almost luminous and my reddish-blond hair shine.

"I cannot wait to see what you have on underneath the dress, vackra. I am going to enjoy ripping it off of you later."

I felt a rosy blush creep across my cheekbones at his mental words, my heart rate increasing as I visualized him ripping the dress from my body with his powerful hands.

"You need to stop with the sexy talk, Romeo."

I heard him chuckle as I sat down on the bench at the end of the bed. I slipped on strappy black sandals that crisscrossed around my ankles. The heel was higher than I was used to wearing, close to four inches high. Standing up, I smoothed the dress with one hand, taking a last look in the mirror.

"What do you think?" I questioned, my eyes searching his in the reflection of the mirror.

"Turn around, Josephine." Stefan's voice was deep and commanding. I swiveled around to face him, biting my lower lip as I met his piercing stare. His blue eyes darkened instantly and his gaze slid slowly and seductively downward, lingering on my legs in the heels. He rose from the bed, walking to stand in front of me, our bodies so close I could feel his cool breath against my hair.

Looking up at him, I realized that with these heels on I was much taller than usual. I leaned in close to him, wrapping my fingers around his biceps. My lips brushed against his smooth neck and my tongue flicked out to lick the shell of his ear teasingly. His body shuddered slightly against my mouth, his head falling back slightly.

"It is obvious I want to fuck you, vackra. Why are you tempting me?"

"I'm still hoping I can change your mind," I murmured against his throat.  My fingers dropped to rub against the front of his jeans, feeling the hardness of his cock against my hand. I continued to kiss and lick his neck, my hand stroking him through the heavy denim.

Stefan lowered his head to my neck, lightly scraping his fangs against my skin. His lips pressed kisses up the length of my throat until our lips met. I felt his sharp fangs against my mouth and I deliberately let the point of one scrape against my tongue. Moaning softly, I pressed my bloody tongue into his mouth and deepened the kiss.

His strong hands gripped my arms and he pushed me backwards towards the bed. His fingers roughly tugged on the zipper, letting the dress slide down to rest around my waist. I was pushing his shirt over his shoulders when the bedroom door burst open. Lukas was cursing loudly as he blurred to stand beside of us.

"Fucking hell! Josie, Anna and Georgia are downstairs. You need to get your ass downstairs before Mr. Romance loses it! " Lukas exclaimed, bending to pick up Stefan's shirt and tossing it to him. He pulled my dress up, pulling the zipper back into place, taking me by the wrist and leading me out of the bedroom like a child that had been caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

I uselessly tugged at the iron-like grip he had on my wrist. "Did anyone ever tell you that you're a cock blocker, Lukas?" I huffed as we walked down the stairs. Lukas chose to ignore me, muttering under his breath about needing a hose to separate us since we acted like we were in heat.

"It does no good to try to insult him, vackra. I love you." His mental voice called after me, filled with affection and aggravation.

"I love you too. I'm trying to remember why we agreed we let Mr. Cock Blocker talk us into a fun night out."

Lukas didn't release the grip he had on my wrist until we reached the living room. Georgia and Anna were waiting, both of their eyes wandering around the large room. Georgia noticed me first, letting out an excited squeal and almost ran to tackle me.

"So this is where you've been hiding, huh?" Georgia asked as she hugged me tightly, almost lifting me off my feet.

"I can't breathe, Georgia."

She released me and took a step back, her gaze sweeping over me critically. A knowing smile crept over her face. "So, you two are back together again. I can't wait to hear how this happened."

I was wondering if it was too late to make a run for it when Anna stepped in and saved me from Georgia's flood of questions.

"Can you save the interrogation for the car ride, Georgia? I'm hungry and you know what happens when I'm hungry. My bitch level rises dramatically," Anna said, grabbing Georgia's elbow to lead her to the door. Trailing along behind them, I glanced back to see Stefan on the stairs above. A small smile pulled at his lips, softening his handsome face.

"Jag ?lskar dig, vackra. I will see you soon. Be safe."

My lips curved into an unconscious smile at his mental words, my eyes prickling with tears. I sent him back my own message. "Please hurry. I don't know how long I can do this without you."

"Josie!" Anna's voice broke into our silent conversation. She was impatient, her toe tapping out a frantic rhythm of the floor. "You'll see him in two hours. Can you tear yourself away from him to actually spend some time with us?"

Guilt stabbed at my chest. It was Anna that had supported me during those dark days when I was mourning Stefan's disappearance. The least I could do was spend time with my two friends and attempt to have fun.

"I'm sorry, Anna. Let's go."

Anna grinned in triumph, linking her arm through mine as we walked out to Georgia's car together. I was buckling my seat belt when I heard Anna's voice from the back seat. "If you think you're off the hook for abandoning us for days, you're crazy."

Closing my eyes, I banged my head against the head rest of the car seat. There was no escape now, I was a willing captive to their oncoming interrogation.

Georgia let out a loud peal of laughter as she started her car, roaring down the driveway. I didn't have to be psychic to know it was going to be a long night.

***

We were sitting at a small table in the corner of Ku De Ta, a local hot spot in Seminyak. The front portion of the building was a beautifully decorated restaurant and the back was a multi-tiered night club. It was exactly the place I usually avoided due to the large crowds of people. I'd have to work harder to keep out the visions and emotions since this was on my personal 'no-no' list.

Checking my mental shields, I was surprised to find it in place and stronger than normal. The shields were getting so strong that only an occasional a vision would manage to break through and blocking emotions were easier than ever for me to do. It was yet another thing to tuck away for me to consider later.

We were halfway through dinner and both Georgia and Anna had both been amazingly reserved, making idle chit chat about work, shopping and men they'd dated recently. I tuned out most of their conversation, occasionally sneaking a glance at my watch and sipping my glass of wine. I'd just started to really relax when the conversation turned to Stefan and I immediately tensed.  It was if they could smell blood in the water and they went in for the kill.

"What was Hunky's story for leaving, Josie?" Georgia asked, reaching for her glass of wine. She took a sip and continued. "I thought you were finished with him and didn't want his drama."

Twisting my napkin in my lap, I sighed deeply. "Stefan had business issues to deal with. He left me a note and it ended up getting misplaced. I can't stay mad over a misunderstanding, Georgia."

Anna was uncharacteristically quiet. She absently traced patterns on the tablecloth with her fingers, a wry smile on her lips. It was obvious Anna was not going to come to my aid or be of any assistance.

"Business issues and misunderstandings?! Is that what they call it when men go off for days only to come back and grovel for forgiveness? " Georgia fixed a pointed look me at over her wine glass, her tone holding a note of mockery. "And do they not have phones where he does his 'business'?

Tensing at her scathing tone, I plastered a tight smile on my lips and did my best to keep my voice low. "Georgia, I don't want to do this with you. He admitted he made a few mistakes when he left," I paused for a moment, trying to collect my thoughts. "I made mistakes too. He came to Anna's house and tried to explain where he'd been. I basically told him to fuck off and hit the road."

"She was a real bitch to him if it makes you feel better, Georgia. He tried to talk and she gave his fine ass the boot." Anna interjected coolly, glancing at me with a finely arched eyebrow as if challenging me to argue with her.

I shot her a look of betrayal, folding my arms across my chest defensively. This was exactly why I didn't want to come out tonight. They both had my best interests at heart although they weren't good at showing it. Neither could understand my relationship with Stefan. They had no idea that the man I was with was a millennia old vampire that shared my gift. It was almost too much for me to comprehend on a good day.

"Good. He deserved it," Georgia said smugly. "Josie, you can't let some hot piece of ass stroll in and think he's going to run your life. I told you to hook up. There's a difference between a night of hot sex and a relationship."

Angrily slamming my hand on the table, I leaned forward in my seat slightly. I drew in a calming breath, trying to keep my voice level as I addressed Georgia. "I know the difference between a hot sex and a relationship, Georgia. I happen to be lucky enough to have them both with him." My anger waned as my thoughts drifted to Stefan. When I spoke again, my tone was softer. "We love each other. The first night we met, it was if everything aligned for me. It was like I'd known him forever."

Anna and Georgia shared a skeptical look across the table. Minutes passed, and an uneasy silence hung over the table as we finished our dinner and drinks. It was Georgia that finally broke the silence.

She shrugged her shoulders, a large grin breaking over her face. "If this is what you want, I support you. Hunky is easy on the eyes and if he makes you happy, I'm happy."

"Can you please call him Stefan, Georgia? Hunky just sounds wrong." I narrowed my eyes at Georgia and felt my lips curve into a small smile.

"Stefan. Hunky. Whatever." Georgia waved me off dismissively, focusing her attention on the contents of her purse.

"If the drama portion of the evening is over, can we move on to the fun part of the night? I feel like dancing," Anna said, making a motion with her hand to their waiter for the check.

"Ooh, I am! Let's go, there are men to conquer." Georgia clapped her hands with enthusiasm.

The check was settled and we made our way to the back of the building. I could already hear the music playing, the thumping sound of dance music assaulting my ears as we stepped into the darkened club. Neon lights were flashing and it took a moment for us to adjust to the combination of the darkness of the club and the random flashing lights. My eyes scanned the room, watching people writhing and moving against each other on the already crowded dance floor.

"Let's get a drink!" Anna yelled over the music, grabbing our arms and pulling us towards the bar area. Anna leaned across the bar, placing their drink order. A few moments later she pressed a glass into our hands, smiling wickedly. "Sex on the Beach!"

I downed my drink in two large swallows. After barely surviving the dinner fiasco and being overwhelmed with the crowd, I needed the liquid courage. Placing my empty glass on the edge of the bar, I followed Georgia and Anna towards the dance floor without any hesitation. The alcohol had loosened my normal resistance to dancing, I actually found myself enjoying the music, my body moving in time to the pounding beat.

"I can't believe you're dancing with us. Hunky must be doing something right if we can get you out on the dance floor. "Georgia leaned in to yell in my ear. I threw back my head, letting a laugh escape. My laughter stopped when I felt cool, strong hands wrap around my waist and my back came into contact with a hard, muscular chest. My body pressed against him as he moved closer against me.

"Josephine, I see you started without me." Stefan leaned over to whisper against my ear, his voice spreading over me like warm honey, cloying and smooth. Our bodies moved as one, his hips pushing against me as we swayed to the music.

It was if the whole crowd disappeared around us, the air around us seemed charged with electricity. I let out a moan as his large hands roamed across my body, drifting from my arms to lightly brush my across my breasts, going lower to grip my hips as I moved against him. My arms lifted to wind around his neck, my head falling back against his shoulder as we writhed against each other seductively in time to the music.

The song changed to a slower, pulsing beat. He spun me around to face him and I felt my dress creeping up my leg as his strong thigh slipped between my legs. I ran my fingers through his thick, blond hair and my arms draped around his shoulders, our hips grinding together sensually. We were acting out publicly what we did behind closed doors. We moved together flawlessly.

Every cell in my being was screaming out for more and my need for him was flickering over my body like flames scorching my skin. I was aching to feel more than just his hands on me. Reading my mind, his lips covered mine hungrily and his tongue delved into the heat of my mouth. Our tongues twisted lazily against each other, sending darts of desire though me. His grip on me tightened as our kiss deepened, his hands wandering down my back and slightly cupping my ass with his large hands. I groaned into his mouth when I felt the hardness of his cock press against my hip.

"Jesus H. Christ. Get a fucking room!" Lukas snapped, grabbing my shoulder and shaking me. Lukas' abrupt words caused everything to come back into focus around us. I flinched as the loud music and the din of the crowd assaulted my ears.

Disappointed, I let out a heavy sigh as Stefan pulled his lips from mine. I glanced up at him, our eyes locking in the darkness of the room. There was a spark of mischief in them and his lips were curved in a wicked smile.

"That was nothing, vackra. Either we find a dark corner so I can fuck you, or we leave. Soon." His mental words caused a shiver of excitement to run down my spine. I was frantically trying to think of a way to escape with Stefan. I'd had enough of this kind of fun for one evening.

"Here's another drink, honey. After that little display I think you need it. Hell, I don't even smoke and I think I need a cigarette." Georgia pressed a glass in my hand, a look of astonishment on her face. The emotions resonating from Georgia were easy to read: she was slightly jealous, happy and extremely turned on after watching our floor show.

"I had to break them up earlier tonight before you left for dinner. They're a bad influence on my pure, virginal mind," Lukas pouted, his voice whiny. He placed the back of his hand across his eyes dramatically, his face a mask of mock pain.

"Bitch, please. You need to save that line for people that don't know you. There is nothing virginal or pure about your mind," Anna said as she grabbed his arm, pulling him behind her on the dance floor. "Come on, buttercup. Let's dance."

Stefan had a look of amusement on his face as he watched them disappear into the crowd. He looked down at me, his mouth twitching at the corners. "I like your Anna. She is a ball-buster." Stefan laughed, the sound booming above the noise of the crowd.

His loud laughter drew the attention of many people who began turning around to look for the man that matched the sexy voice. I could see the mixture of desire and envy on many of the faces of men and women alike as they took in Stefan's impressive frame. Jealously tugged at me, even though I understood their attraction to him. He was more gorgeous than usual tonight, his six-foot-four muscular frame towered over the crowd and the white dress shirt stretched across the expanse of his massive chest. His legs were long and his tight jeans hugged his muscled thighs.

Desire coiled in the pit of my stomach as I shamelessly admired him. I fought the need to rip his shirt off to let my tongue run over the sinewy muscles hidden underneath the fabric. Sighing deeply, I knew I needed to pull myself together before I started searching out dark corners to have my way with him.

Stefan's face spread into a wide grin. He'd been listening to my internal dialogue and not only was enjoying it, he was relishing in my desire for him.

I took a long drink from the glass I'd been holding, wincing as the alcohol burned my throat as I swallowed. Glancing down and the glass and back up to her, I wrinkled my nose. "What the hell is this, Georgia? It tastes like pure alcohol."

"It's a Long Island Ice Tea, honey. Drink up." Georgia clinked her glass against mine in a mock toast. "Stefan, I'm glad to see you decided to come back. Hopefully you'll invest in a phone that works while you're away doing your business."

Gasping, I looked at Georgia in disbelief. I couldn't believe she'd say something like that to deliberately antagonize him. I was finished trying to defend her. She was on her own now.

A tense silence settled over us, thick and heavy. The music was loud, people laughing and dancing around us. All I could feel was the pounding of my heart and the uneasiness that had fallen over the conversation. Stefan's torso slightly stiffened beside of me, his normally handsome face becoming severe as anger darkened his features. I wrapped my free arm around him, my fingers caressing his side.

I pushed my mental thoughts to him, sincere and full of emotion. "Hey, remember that I love you. And we're past this, even if Georgia isn't, Stefan. It doesn't matter what she thinks. You're better than this petty bullshit."

His tense muscles relaxed minutely after hearing my mental words. Our eyes met and a small smile broke across on my face. There was still anger shadowing his face but his eyes softened slightly as he looked at me. His gaze stayed locked on my face as he spoke to Georgia. His voice was absolutely emotionless and the expression on his face was hard as he started to speak.

"Georgia, once again you find it necessary to meddle in Josephine's affairs. Our relationship has nothing do with you or your feelings. I owe you no explanations, Georgia. I love her and I will spend the rest of our time together making up for my mistakes."

Georgia swallowed hard, her face paling under the weight of his words. Her eyes glittered with anger as she looked at him. "Here's the thing, Stefan," Georgia spat at him with venom in her voice, causing his head to snap sharply to look at her. "You didn't see her. When I walked into her house the night you left, she was a mess. She was thinking you were just another person that had abandoned her. All she could do was say 'He's gone.'" I had to struggle to hear her voice over the music even though I knew Stefan didn't have the same issue. Georgia let her eyes wander over the crowd before returning her red-rimmed eyes to him. "So maybe you're right, Stefan. Your relationship doesn't have to do anything with me. But I won't see her broken like that again."

Stefan grimaced at her words and turned to look at me, his eyes filled with a mixture of dread and curiosity. Shrugging my shoulders, I let my mind flash back to the day I thought he'd left me and the conversation I'd had with Georgia in my living room. My eyes closed on their own accord, the painful memory almost too much to bear.

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

Shaking my head, my face was expressionless. "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, Georgia," 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 came out of the recollection with a deep gasp like I'd been under water for too long.  It made all of the fear and doubt I had pushed away resurface, my chest clenching in pain at the memory.

"I will never leave her like that again, Georgia. That I can promise you. Can you tell the others we are leaving?" His voice was thick with emotion and his handsome face was grim. "Please."

Georgia nodded, pulling me to her in a hug. She pulled away, kissing me on the cheek briefly. She shot Stefan a sharp look before disappearing into the crowd.

Stefan's fingers intertwined with mine as we made our way through the crowd, his shoulders tight with anxiety. He was silent as we walked to his car, the only sound were my heels as they clicked out a staccato rhythm on the pavement. He pulled me along and my legs struggled to keep up with his long, purposeful strides. He opened the door for me, swiftly closing it behind me after I settled into the car. Seconds later he was in the seat beside of me and his eyes were staring blankly out the windshield. I nervously twisted my hands in my lap as I waited for him to talk, my stomach churning with apprehension.

"Is that how you felt, Josephine? It was if you had given up," Stefan muttered, his voice quiet. I could see the despair etched on his handsome face. It was obvious he hadn't truly forgiven himself for leaving, even though he'd insisted that I let the misunderstanding go.

"Yeah, Stefan. That's how I felt at that moment. Even though I knew I loved you, I was still trying to deny it. I knew that first night we met you were it for me. And then you left….I realized I never told you how I truly felt. So not only was I torn apart because you were gone, I was mad at myself for letting you slip away without telling you I loved you," I whispered, my hand reaching for his. I brought it to my lips, placing a kiss on the back of his hand.

"Didn't you tell me I was supposed to forgive myself, Stefan? Why can't you do the same?"

His head turned to look at me, his soulful eyes searching my mine. A remorseful smile broke over his face as he leaned over the console to press his lips against mine gently. He lightly kissed my nose before moving to turn the car on.

"Did I mention that I do not like to be wrong, vackra?" Stefan asked, his voice lighter and had a teasing tone to it.

Laughing, my hand reached to rest on his thigh. "No, but join the club. I hate it when you're right."

The ride home was quiet and comfortable. He seemed lighter, his normal swagger returning as we pulled into the garage. He blurred to my side of the car and extended his hand to me. I winked, placing my much smaller hand in his as he smoothly pulled me out of the car and into his arms. He tossed me over his shoulder and walked into the house with me kicking and squirming against him.

"Stefan, put me down!" I squealed against the small of his back. I was only half-hearted in my attempt to escape, since I had the pleasure of admiring the view of his firm ass from this angle. I was just getting ready to playfully struggle against him again when I felt a smack on my ass. I should have been angry at his mischievous swat, instead I felt arousal tingling in my stomach. All it took was a simple look or touch from him to set my body on fire, the intensity painfully delicious.

"Did you just spank me, Stefan?" I asked quietly, jumping when another playful smack from his hand made contact with my ass. He was silent as he carried me quickly through the house, walking up the stairs to the master bedroom. He tossed me on the bed and my body bounced from the impact.

Stefan stalked across the room to lower himself in the chair in the corner of the room, his sharp eyes watching me. He still hadn't spoken and his thoughts were intentionally jumbled as I tried to take a mental peek to see what he was planning.

Struggling to sit up on the bed, my heart was racing as my eyes searched his face. I ran a shaky hand through the tangled waves of my hair, slightly biting my lip.

"Stand up, Josephine." His voice was low and demanding. There was a slight huskiness lingering in his tone.

I crawled to the edge of the bed, standing up unsteadily. His eyes traced the contours of my body slowly, lingering on the swell of my breasts, moving to admire the curve of my hips and finally stopping to rake over the length of my legs. A shrewd smile curved his lips as I nervously stood in front of him. The sound of his mental voice floated through my mind, his tone smooth and commanding.

"Take off your dress and stay where you are. Do not move except to do as I tell you."

"Stefan," I could hardly lift my voice above a whisper. His eyes were wild. I could barely make out any blue in the blackness of his eyes.

"No more talking. I asked to you to remove your dress, Josephine." Stefan's voice resonated powerfully in the quiet room. His body was tense as he leaned forward in the chair, ready to pounce on me at any time.

Twisting my arms behind me, I shakily pulled the zipper down the back of the dress. The fabric slipped down the length of my body to pool around my feet. I gave the dress a nudge away with the toe of my shoe, standing before him in my strapless black bra and panties. My heart rate increased as I waited for him to continue.

Stefan was motionless as he continued to stare at me, his gaze predatory. He slowly rose from the chair, walking across the room to slowly circle me. My hands longed to reach out and touch him, but he stayed just out of my grasp, making it impossible for me to do it and not move.

"Remove your bra and panties."

Nervously licking my lips, I reached to unclasp my bra and let it drop from my fingers on the floor. My hands fumbled as I hooked my fingers around the sides of my panties, bending to push them down my legs. As I stood to face him again, his eyes were still silently appraising me and his hands were clenched at his sides.

"Perfect. Keep on the shoes, vackra. I want you to wear them while I fuck you." His voice was almost a growl as he continued to watch me standing before him.

My heart was thumping against my chest and my entire being was vibrating with need. Wetness spread between my thighs and my knees began to weaken, my emotions whirling and spinning out of control. I wasn't sure if I should be turned on or appalled at being dominated like this. Or both.

I opened my mouth to talk but his finger pressed softly against my lips, effectively stopping any words from escaping. He stepped closer, slowly moving the finger from my lips to move below my chin, tilting my face up to look at him. He circled me again, tracing a finger across my back from one shoulder to the other, the coolness of his skin causing me to shiver.

When he finally stood to face me again, his mouth was arranged in a hard smile, lines of concentration deepening along his brows and under his eyes.

"Undress me, Josephine."

Hesitating for a moment, I was powerless to resist him. My hands rushed to his chest, struggling against the buttons of his shirt. When the last one released, my fingers pushed the shirt over his broad shoulders and down the length of his long, muscular arms. I lowered my hands to fumble with the button and slowly lowered the straining zipper on his jeans. I couldn't stop my moan of desire as his cock sprang out, slapping against his stomach once it was freed from the confines of the denim. Swallowing thickly, I hastily shoved the fabric down his legs.

Stefan absently kicked his jeans away from him. His tongue darted out to lick along his lower lip in anticipation, his hand wrapping around my arm to pull me back to stand in front of him. His fingers began a path along my jaw, dragging along the side of my neck to slowly trace the circle of my nipple, the skin pebbling from the electric touch of his skin against mine.

"Lay down on the bed."

Obeying his mental command, I stretched my body across the bed. He leaned over me and his smooth hands pushed my thighs apart. His long fingers drifted lightly over my clit and wet folds, slipping them slowly inside of me. My hips lifted off the bed, moaning softly. His eyebrow raised slightly, his lilting mental voice seductively entering my mind.

"Always so wet for me. Are you ready for me to fuck you now?"

Arching my head into the bed, I thrust my breasts higher and my wet pussy into his hand. He settled between my legs and his tongue licked along my inner thigh to flick against my swollen clit. His thumb replaced his tongue, slowly rubbing a tight circle around my clit. He leaned over my body to wrap his mouth around my nipple, rolling it gently with his tongue. He raised his head to look at me, his blue eyes hooded and glazed. I could tell by the expression on his face he was waiting for an answer.

"Stefan. Please fuck me…."

One of his hands took my wrist, stretching my arm above my head. His other hand reached for my other wrist, repeating the motion. He clasped both of my wrists in one of his large hands and his chest pressed against me. His hard cock slid inside of me with one swift roll of his hips, a growl rumbling in his chest as he fully entered me. He began slowly thrusting with deep strokes, his breath ragged against my face. His mouth found its way instinctively to mine and my lips parted to meet his. There was nothing gentle about this kiss, his lips were hard and rough against mine, his tongue mimicking the thrusts of his cock inside of me. Pulling my knees back farther, I cried out as he slipped completely inside, completely filling me with his large cock.

"Oh god, Stefan. Fuck!"

His mouth continued his sensual assault on mine as his speed increased. Our bodies slid against each other, my hips rocking to meet each surge of his cock. My body was consumed with heat, my passion for him was overwhelming and all-consuming. He could have me a million different ways and it would never be enough.

He pulled his lips from mine, his mouth descending to the crook of my neck. His hand continued to hold my wrists above my head and I arched against him as I felt his fangs sink into the skin on my neck. My orgasm was explosive, the feel of his fangs and lips on my neck caused me to clasp around him tightly. I violently shuddered against him and triggered his own climax. He pulsed inside of me as he pulled his fangs from my neck. My blood was trickling down his chin as his head fell back, a roar exploding from his mouth in ecstasy.

"Jag kan inte f? nog av dig!"

Stefan's body trembled against mine and his hands released the grip on my wrists. My fingers reached up to wipe my blood from his chin and his tongue swiftly darted out to lick at them greedily.

He fell to his side, pulling me along with him so we were lying face to face on the bed, his long leg draping across my thigh. His eyes were closed and his large hand ran down the length of my back in a gentle caress. For a brief unguarded minute, his thoughts tumbled out freely and his mind was completely open to me. He was blissful, the happiness he felt bordered on euphoria. His thoughts were consumed with the unwavering love he felt for me, the sheer emotion he was feeling was almost too much for me to understand.

My heart twisted when I felt his fear of my limited human life span creep into the boundaries of his mind, his thoughts darkening as he worried about me leaving him, either on my own volition or by his greatest fear: in my death. He was uncertain that I would choose to change to stay with him and this terrified him.

As quickly as his thoughts flooded my mind, he closed them off to me like a door slamming shut to an unwanted visitor. He sighed deeply in regret and his eyes closed to avoid my anxious stare. I couldn't force him to look at me, although I'd try my best to reassure him.

Curling myself around him, I opened my thoughts to him, hiding nothing from him. I showed him the strength of my feelings, the curiosity I felt at how he was able to unlock a side of me I kept hidden away. I focused on the ferocity of my love for him and how meeting him was the one thing in my life that made me the happiest, how I'd finally found a sense of home with him. My throat ached with unshed tears when I realized that I was in so deep now, I couldn't imagine my life without him beside of me. I needed him as much as he needed me.

Stefan was silent as he pulled me closer to him. I felt him draw in an unnecessary breath and his shaky exhale against my hair. His mental voice was soft as it brushed against my mind. "I love you, Josephine. No matter what you choose to do, I am eternally yours. Jag ?r din och du ?r min. F?r evigt."

With a whimper from me, I reclaimed his mouth with mine, turning my head to drink him in. Our mouths met with wet need, desperate to prove to each other the depth of our love.

I knew beyond a doubt that I loved him and didn't want to live without him. It was up to me to figure out if one lifetime was enough.

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