It was raining, the cart that had taken me down here had left me far up the road and was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps this was a terrible idea, he did tell me that he was simply going to go find Dettlaff and come home. But that was weeks ago. They’ve never left for this long.
I knocked on the door, my breath coming out heavily. The sound of air moving quickly came from behind the door. It opened carefully, revealing the man I wanted to see.
“Regis…” I said softly before my legs gave out from beneath me.
I felt him catch me before I hit the ground.
I came to consciousness in bed. Soft and warm. The windows outside were dark as night, rain still pouring hard. I sat up sharply, eyes searching the room wildly. A figure walked into the room, holding something in his hands.
“Please, dearest. You’ve come a long way to get here.” Regis said his voice no louder than a whisper. “Are you alright? Were you hurt? I checked, of course, but you could have been hurt differently on the way here.” He placed a cup on a nearby table and took a seat on the bed. He was worried and I could almost feel it in the air around us.
I took his shaking hand and pressed it against my face. “I’m alright, just a little exhausted.”
He scoffed dryly, rubbing his thumb against my cheek. “That is an understatement, you collapsed when you arrived, darling. What made you think it was a good idea to follow me down here? How did you even find out I was here?” And though it sounded like he was scolding me, his voice was never harsh or demeaning. Instead he was soft, comforting even.
“If I’m going to be honest, I have no idea how I found out where you were.” I leaned further into his touch, enjoying what I had missed. “I had a feeling on where you were and I followed it. Thank the Gods it led me straight to you.” I held his free hand in mine, squeezing it a little bit to try and quell his shaking.
Regis pulled me in for a hug. His entire body was shaking a little bit and I felt something between us thrum with relief. “I’m glad that you’re okay now, I don’t know what I would have done if you were gone when I had returned.” The trembling stopped and he held on a little tighter, as if savouring the fact that I was here.
“You’d probably go out on your own to find me and then discover that I’m living in a cottage in the middle of nowhere in Toussaint.”
I felt the rumble of a laugh in his chest as he held me. “Maybe yes, and just maybe I would let you stay in the cottage in the middle of nowhere in Toussaint, had my endeavour in Toussaint not been dangerous not only for me but for you as well.” He pulled away from me, expression grave. “I’m sorry but you cannot stay here, my love. It is far too dangerous. And if something were to happen to you, Gods only know what I would do.” His hand still held mine and was now tracing circles on the back of it, something he did to soothe his own anxious thoughts.
“Well, I’m not going back home, not without you and not without Dettlaff.” I steeled myself for his reaction that was clearly not going to be pleasant. Regis and I hardly fought but when we did, it was usually because of something like this. Being with a higher vampire was always going to be a risk and I had come to terms with that a long time ago.
Regis sighed deeply, his face softening. He met my gaze, dark eyes filled with something I had never seen before, fear. “I understand. But little must know that you’re here, however Dettlaff should not. Not yet at least. Something unfortunate has happened to our friend and we must find a way to help him.” I could practically feel the fear and worry rolling off his body. The hand that held mine began to tremble a little.
I squeezed his hand again, trying to convey comfort. Being the vampire he was, he felt emotions so much more intensely than I did, both the good and the bad ones. “I’m sure we can find a way to help him, do you know what’s happened? Is he hurt?” My own worries about Dettlaff’s whereabouts were starting to surface, for the longest time I never thought I would feel this strongly about a friend let alone a higher vampire.
His gaze dropped from mine. “You’re not going to enjoy what I have to say.” He let go of my hand and stepped away from the bed, creating distance between us.
“Regis, what’s happened to Dettlaff?”
“He’s killed three people. Four as of last night.” His words came as shock to my system. “I don’t know why he’s doing this but I can assure you, he isn’t doing this of his own free will. You know him as well as I do, he would never harm a human, he doesn’t even like them that much.” He faced away from me, but even then, I could feel the concern coming off him like waves.
I didn’t know what to say. Dettlaff had always been kind to me and to Rhena. He didn’t even like to be around humans for very long. Hearing this brought tears to my eyes and caused my heart to ache. I wiped the tears forming in my eyes away before Regis could see them.
He turned back to face me, his expression though worried was gentle too. He sat back down on the bed, a little closer to me now. “We need to help him. We need to find out why he’s doing this and find a way to stop it, but we can’t do this alone. I’ve found an old friend that can help us.” He said cupping my face with both hands this time. My own reached up and held on his.
“But right now, let me take care of the love of my life.” A smile broke out on his face for the first time since I arrived, fangs and all.
Before I could smile, he caught my lips in a soft kiss. Which I returned with a similar tenderness. He pulled away and began to pepper my face with little butterfly kisses. Giggling as he did, I managed to pull him down to the bed with me and laughter roared between us.
“How I’ve missed you, my love.” He placed his hand on my cheek again. “As much as coming down here was dangerous for you, I can’t say I’m too against it now. I don’t know how I went weeks without you around, without your touch.” He pressed a small kiss to my forehead.
“I don’t know how I got past the first week without you, and then the week after that.” I pressed a kiss to his palm. “I guess I just sensed that you had missed me, and followed the need for my presence to you.”
He laughed softly. “Maybe so, I’m glad that it did then.” He carefully scooped me up into his arms. “Because how I missed holding you like this.”
My own laugh sounded in the room. “Well, I won’t be going anywhere any time soon.” I made myself comfortable in his arms, tucking my head under his chin, face in the crook of his neck. He smelled like he always did, cinnamon, wormwood and sage, with just a hint of honey. “Hey Regis…”
“I love you.”
“And I you, darling.” I felt his hand caress my back with a kind of softness only he could ever possess. His longer nails dragging down my spine and coming to rest at my hips.
A comfortable silence had settled around us as it rained and thundered outside. Sleep came to me easily as I felt content with where I was, back in my vampire’s arms, back home.