Wrapped in the sheets with Drusilla, his own gentle, deadly miracle, William slept completely through the fight.
It was clear in the afternoon, though, that Darla was out of sorts, her cutting tongue sharpened to razor blades. Angelus was nowhere to be found.
William could only be grateful. It meant more time with Drusilla alone, gently exploring her. A month ago he could not have imagined he would know the touch of a woman so soon. It was even better than he could have dreamt, being held close within the cradle of her body.
Even if sometimes he thought she didn’t… well, women didn’t enjoy it, and that was all. She was an angel of death, above the pleasures of the flesh, yet gracing him with her touch.
He still felt shy, sometimes, uncovering their bodies. She’s mine, something growled deep within him, an echo from those new, bolder impulses he was still learning to express. Mine to have.
Darla refused to go hunting with them that night. He and Drusilla had a marvelous time on their own, red blood blooming like flowers from their victim’s necks.
His beloved was warm when they returned home, sweet and sleepy.
“Will you rest with me, my William?”
He almost couldn’t believe he was denying her the request, but he was still antsy from the kills. The novelty had not worn off for him, the power of who he was now.
He kissed her sweetly on the forehead. “Not yet, my love. I’m far too wakeful tonight.”
Drusilla smiled her sweet child’s smile and curled up under the quilts. William snagged the candle from the bedside table and carried it out with him. He meant to go to the library. The Marquis had an impressive collection, and he wasn’t stingy with lending them to his houseguests.
A dead host was indeed exceedingly generous.
The floor creaked as he made his way down the hall.
“William? Is that you?”
William paused, wincing. Darla. Cautiously he turned to the master bedroom, which she had claimed for Angelus and herself.
She was sitting in front of the fire, well back from the screen. Her face was shadowed, but he could see the lovely line of her throat.
Darla was beautiful. He’d have to be blind not to know that. But it was a commoner beauty than his queen, something from the fashion plates, while Drusilla stepped from a painting by the masters.
“I’m glad you’re still awake, William.”
He didn’t know what to say to that. He had read tales of the natives of India, who could hypnotize a cobra with their instruments. He wasn't sure whether Darla was the flute-player or the cobra in that metaphor. Perhaps both, as it suited her.
Darla sighed. “It appears Liam has found a greener pasture for the time being.” Her light, girlish voice was clipped. “Leaving me here with you.”
He knew she didn’t think particularly highly of him, but a modicum of politeness would have sufficed.
“Come here, then.” Even as she spoke, Darla rose from her chair and moved to sit on the edge of the luxurious, rumpled bed. Her ruffled dressing gown trailed behind her.
Uncertainly, William moved towards the center of the room.
“For heaven’s sake, William. Put down that candle and get on your knees.”
William’s brain stuttered, but his body obeyed. He set the candle down on the little table by the chair in front of the fire, and then knelt before the lady of the house, one knee up as if he were a knight before a queen. Darla did like her airs, but this felt a little silly.
Darla closed her eyes briefly, as if to keep her patience.
Then she spread her knees wide, the edges of her robe falling open on the outside of her legs. Her very bare legs.
William fell sideways.
When he recovered himself, Darla was smiling, with all the warmth of a glacier. “Nice to know I haven't lost all my charms. Now, get on with it, William.”
William blinked rapidly. “Get on wi—with what?”
Darla stared at him for a moment, then gestured vaguely to her womanly parts, shadowed by the robe but clearly naked for his perusal.
William stared back. Somewhere behind him, the fire popped.
Darla huffed a breath. “I want you to kiss my cunt, William.”
“Oh, come now, William. I need this, and you’re always shooting your mouth off. I thought we might find a better use for it.”
“Wouldn’t mind a bit, my boy,” Darla said, her tone softening. “I’ve had to share Angelus with her for twenty years now. She owes me.”
William winced. Nothing’s yours anymore. Not even her.
“I still wish to be faithful,” he said, quietly but surely.
“A lovely thought,” Darla responded, almost kindly. “But I have no designs on your heart. Just your tongue.”
“Yes, as I thought I made clear.”
William shot one glance towards the door—he could run now, run back to Drusilla’s bed, wrap his arms around her blood-warmed body. But there was something dark in him, something stirring hungry and cold. Something that wanted to know what Darla felt like in his arms, if Drusilla’s charms were really so special or if one woman was as sweet as another.
He had never dared to believe he might know the touch of two women. He’d never even dared want such a thing.
He rose finally off the floor. Kiss Darla. Kiss those poison lips.
But to his surprise, Darla placed a hand on top of his head and pushed him down, like an errant puppy. He ended with his face right in her opening.
He stared again. He’d touched Drusilla a bit there, mostly as he maneuvered himself in. But of course he hadn’t actually seen it, not more than glimpses as she dressed or bathed. Such a thing was not done.
And yet—Darla’s was intriguing. Little nubs and ridges of flesh, like a pale rose, with a sweet, spicy scent to match. It all looked rather complicated, to be honest. He found himself again glad for his good fortune in being born male.
“William,” Darla said sharply above him, with the same tone his schoolmistresses had used.
He lifted his face, forehead scrunched. “Yes?”
“Oh hell,” Darla suddenly exclaimed, voice loud and furious. “Do you not know how to please a woman?”
William sat back on his haunches, mortified. “Of course I do. Drusilla has never complained.”
Darla was nearly quivering. “She wouldn’t. She wouldn’t, because she takes it like a starved streetrat and never asks for more than crusts. Are you telling me you haven’t licked her quim at all?”
For a second William was properly revulsed, but then that curious beast inside him raised its head. “Sh—should I?”
“Forget Dru owing me a favor. I’m doing this for her. William, I will not suffer selfishness in the men of my company. You’re not to leave this room until you have learned to make a woman scream with pleasure.”
“Would—would Drusilla like it?” He was ashamed at the pleading eagerness in his voice.
Darla reached down and held him by the chin. “She’ll love it. Cross my heart.”
He’d do anything to have her love. They both knew it.
“Al—alright.” William shuffled in between her legs again, and carefully, cautiously placed a gentle kiss on the fleshy folds in front of him.
“Very sweet, young William,” Darla said drily. “But use your tongue. Go deeper. Taste me.”
Hesitantly, then avidly, William obliged.
Nearly two hours later, Drusilla woke from sleep to the sounds of Darla’s screams. She smiled to herself and snuggled deeper into the eiderdown.
Grandmummy is the loveliest teacher. I shall get her an apple on the morrow.
One that’s blood-red, and bursting sweet.