Hans went to fetch his phone out of the pile of clothes next to the loveseat. I reflexively hugged Emma a little tighter, but then I forced myself to let her go. This time she let me pull away.
“Are you feeling better?” Emma asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “Um. How are you?” I was a little worried that since I’d gotten over Emma’s fears she would be getting hit by them again. She didn’t seem to be upset, though, so maybe the rate at which she recovered them was independent of the rate at which I’d absorbed them.
Emma smiled and leaned back. She stretched her arms out in front of herself and then arched her back. She gradually turned the motions into a full-body stretch. I even felt her legs shift beneath me. Then she let everything relax with a sigh.
“I feel fantastic,” Emma said in a dreamy voice. “And still a little noodle-limbed,” she added.
“Oh,” I said. I wondered if I could stop my heartbeat to keep from blushing. I decided it would be best not to risk building up my appetite.
It was too late, anyway.
“Um, I’m sorry?” I said while my cheeks burned.
Emma giggled. She brought her hands up to cover her mouth. “Don’t be,” she said – hiding half of a coy smile. “It’s a good feeling.”
I blushed harder and fumbled with a reply, but got distracted when I heard Hans’ phone ringing quietly. I looked and saw he had it to his ear. It took me a second to realize that the ringing I was hearing was from his outgoing call. He was waiting to see if John would pick up.
John did. My heightened senses let me hear both sides of their conversation: John’s was a faint voice coming from the phone’s speaker, but I still had no difficulty making it out. I could even hear a TV going on in the background.
“Hello, this is John,” John said. “May I ask who’s calling?”
“It’s Hans,” Hans replied. “Are you available to come by the house again?”
“Yes,” John said. “Has Abigail changed her mind about being a Salvatore?”
Hans glanced at me. I scowled back. “I don’t think so,” Hans said into the phone. “But she does want to talk to you about things she should expect now that she’s been to the other side and back.”
“Ah,” said John. “Well, when should I come by?”
“Sooner would be better than later,” Hans said. “If you’re available now then now would be best.”
“I see,” replied John. “In that case, I’ll be there in about an hour.”
“Alright,” acknowledged Hans. “Thank you.”
John sniffed dismissively. “Think nothing of it,” he said. “What kind of big brother wouldn’t dash off in the middle of the night to help his little sis, eh? Not the sort I’d like to be.”
Hans chuckled but didn’t reply. He hung up and glanced over at Emma and myself. “John will be over in about an hour,” he said – more for Emma’s sake than mine, I suspected, since his gaze did skew slightly toward her. Which only made sense, since she was the one without super-human hearing. Hans had to have realized that I had overheard the entire conversation.
Of course, Emma was also topless. I suddenly found myself beset with conflicting urges: should I cross my arms and scowl at Hans, or shuck off my flannel pajama top and see where his eyes ended up?
Ultimately, I did neither. Emma had lain back against the headboard while Hans was on the phone. Now she sat up straight again and covered herself with her arms. “Eep,” she squeaked. “I’d better get cleaned up and dressed. Will you scoot, Abby?”
I blinked at her. Emma couldn’t get up because I was still on her lap. I also realized that she wasn’t covering herself out of modesty, which helped alleviate my confusion over her outburst. No, her fingertips rested on her newly healed skin, where I’d bitten her. Her hands covered the dried blood smears on her shoulders. The fact that this made her arms cover her breasts was completely coincidental.
That was actually something of a relief. I hadn’t considered it earlier, but if it had turned out I was able to consume Emma’s exhibitionism as well as her insecurities… Well, that would have definitely resulted in me getting myself into serious trouble somewhere down the road.
“Nope,” I said. “Vetoed.”
It was Emma’s turn to blink in confusion. “What?” she asked.
I scowled at her. “Hans is going to fetch you something to wash with, and when you’re done you’re getting back in your pajamas and under the covers. You aren’t getting dressed and you aren’t getting up: you need a good night’s sleep and that’s what you’re going to get. I can wait up for John on my own.”
It took me a second to get why I was saying what I was saying – which is more evidence that I’m unhinged, but that’s verbal autopilot for you. At least this time my unconscious reasoning made sense. Having felt Emma’s insecurities myself, I didn’t want her anywhere near anyone who would remind her so much of Mr. Salvatore.
And I was already pretty sure that Mr. Salvatore had left out a lot of details when he’d briefed Hans on the care and feeding of a vampire. If Hans’ wolf had helped push Mr. Salvatore over the edge then I didn’t want Hans to beat himself up over it. And if it hadn’t, then I didn’t want Hans to take it personally when I asked John about it.
Also, they did both need sleep and I still wasn’t comfortable leaving anyone alone in a potentially faerie infested house. Although I was pretty sure I couldn’t stand my own against the fae should they ambush me while I waited on John, my encounter with Melvin left me hopeful that I could at least bluff for a while.
“Hans?” I asked while turning back to face him. “Will you go get some washcloths and soap or something for Emma? And when you get back, you’re on guard-wolf duty again, okay?”
Hans gave me a bemused grin and a nod on his way out of the guestroom.
“I think there’ll be wet wipes in the downstairs bathroom,” Emma called after him helpfully. “Top sink drawer.”
I turned back to face her – and to try to sort myself out. Hans was gone for the moment, which helped. Emma…
Emma shifted her posture. She folded her hands in her lap so that her arms no longer hid her breasts. Instead, they framed them, pushing them together and out; putting them on display. At the same time she tilted her head down and away, as though overcome with shyness. Her voice and eyes gave the pose away as an act, though. Her tone was sultry and she watched for my reaction with brazen confidence through long lashes. “And did you enjoy yourself, Abby?”
I felt like my heart skipped a beat or two. Maybe it did – I’d been making it stop when I was on the verge of panic often enough on purpose. Maybe that was starting to become an ingrained reaction.
The thing is… I’d never really expected to have sex. Ever. I could sort of imagine being assaulted, but even then I’d been more inclined to think it would end in casual murder rather than rape – especially if there was anyone else who was conventionally attractive around. Even with my personal promise to fuck Hans senseless, I’d always realized on some level that I was bound to freak out and ruin the moment before anyone got anywhere near getting off.
So I’d never really expected to have a real ‘first time.’ I certainly hadn’t expected to instigate it – and I never would have suspected it would be with another woman.
All of which left me utterly at a loss now that the situation was being directly addressed. Because I had just had sex. For the first time.
I mean… even though Emma hadn’t technically done anything to me, she had clearly gotten laid. And I had been her partner in the event. And it wasn’t like I could claim I hadn’t gotten off just as much as she had. Literally! My body still felt like a languid mass wrapped up in the afterglow of Emma’s orgasms, despite my freaking out that everyone was going to leave me.
And all of that made responding to Emma crazy difficult. My mouth opened and closed – without a word – more than once. Finally I blurted out: “I’ve never done that before.”
Emma giggled. “It’s pretty different when everything is shared like that,” she agreed knowingly.
“I…” I swallowed and reminded myself that even though Emma was without her insecurities and fears right now, normally I was supposed to be the aggressive, confident one between us. “I wouldn’t know,” I said with forced calm. “I meant: I’ve never had sex before.”
Now it was Emma’s turn to flounder. “I… You mean with a woman?” she finally asked for clarification.
“I mean with anyone,” I answered. “You’re my first.” I was decidedly uncomfortable now, and desperately wanted to change the topic. The last time I’d wanted to change the subject around Emma, she and I had started making out. I studied her lips intently. They were parted slightly. Apparently my confession had shocked or stunned her because her jaw seemed to be hanging open. Or maybe she just wanted to change the topic, too.
Fuck me, I wanted to cover her mouth with mine and practice some of the things she’d done to me with her tongue earlier.
Emma’s jaw clicked shut when Hans returned, saving us from further awkwardness. I glanced at him and then slid off Emma’s lap and out of the bed. Hans hadn’t just brought a packet of wet wipes – he had a bed tray with a bowl of steaming water, a liquid soap dispenser, two fluffy washcloths and a hand towel. There was even an aromatic candle in a squat glass jar, uncapped and lit behind the wash basin.
I took the tray from Hans and set it over Emma’s lap. It reminded me of the bath he’d prepared for me, and that made me smile. Either Hans took washing up very, very seriously or he had a very serious thing for spoiling people.
I turned away from Emma so she could wash in peace and I could try to clear my head. Hans was still facing her, but he was looking at me.
“Abigail,” Hans asked, “will you forgive me a moment’s indiscretion in advance?”
I stiffened despite myself and looked down, unwilling to meet his eyes. So, Hans wanted to gawk at Emma, too? My nascent outrage was short lived, though: looking down had been a mistake. Hans still wasn’t wearing any clothes, and without the bed tray in the way I could see that he was aroused.
My outrage wilted. I couldn’t blame him. I’d been teasing him for days without following through, and Emma was hot. I forced my gaze away and wound up staring at the wall. “Um. Yeah. Sure,” I mumbled. It wasn’t like Emma would mind the attention.
I was completely unprepared for Hans step close, catch me about the waist and yank me against himself. I squawked and turned toward him. He caught my cheek with his other hand and tilted my head back, then crushed his mouth over mine before I could form a coherent reply.
Hans’ kiss was passionate and fiercely possessive. It left me reeling when he pulled away. My knees – still weak from my time with Emma – gave out when Hans released me and I sat unceremoniously on the end of the bed.
Sitting was a mistake. It put my gaze at waist level with Hans again. My cheeks flared. Emma gave Hans an encouraging wolf whistle. I yanked my eyes back up to his face.
Hans shot Emma a grin, then turned back to me. “I just wanted to do that before I turned back into a wolf and lost track of wanting to do that,” he explained. “Thanks for understanding.”
Hans kept grinning while I fumbled inarticulately with a reply. His smile was way too smug, which didn’t help at all. And he didn’t give me the time to put actual words together, anyway. He started shifting back to wolf.
I was so stunned I actually watched the entire process, disquieting though it was, before I managed to mumble: “Yeah. Sure. No problem.” Hans stretched his jaws in a wolfy yawn, then settled down on the floor so he could peek under the bed for goblins.
I took a deep breath, then let it out in a long, slow exhalation. “Fuck me,” I muttered, feeling more than a little overwhelmed. How was I supposed to keep up with two lovers? And for that matter: when the hell had my life turned into a harem hentai, anyway?
Hans’ ears twitched in response to my self-addressed mumble, and I was pretty sure I heard Emma stifle a laugh. I groaned and leaned forward over my knees so I could bury my face in my hands. My cheeks felt hot against my palms.
Fuck me, I thought more silently than I’d muttered. I’m doomed.