The limo drive turned out to be way too short for me to get Ben’s indecency out of my head. I couldn’t decide if he was going to go for my neck, or my shoulder, or pin me against the wall and bite somewhere else. Dammit, Abby! Why didn’t you specify where he could have that one nibble?! When the limousine pulled to a halt it actually startled me. I hadn’t realized I’d spent so much time fantasi… panicking about Ben getting his fangs into me again.
I blinked a couple of times to clear my head. John, beside me, was already on his way out of the limo, cutting past Shantaya and Jacob.
What’s his rush? I wondered. But then I noticed the way Shantaya was surreptitiously staring at me — and Jacob was openly leering — and I glanced down.
Somehow, I’d started influencing my glamours again. And just like last time I’d been around Ben, it wasn’t for the better. I’d gone from business appropriate to slutty secretary, with a way too short skirt; a blouse that wasn’t even designed to button all the way up, and a more padded bra that provided a lot of lift, given that I didn’t have much to hold up.
I yanked my eyes back up to the werepups and tried not to pass out from the head rush as all the blood in my body surged into my cheeks.
“Ben is my boyfriend,” My autopilot informed them. Not that I needed to explain myself. Right? “He’s a dork, and I know it, but he also went into a world that was literally designed to kill him so that he could help me rescue my girlfriend. That was badass, and that’s hot so shut up.”
Neither one of them had said anything, but that didn’t matter. Shantaya shoved Jacob toward the limo door. He grinned and failed to look away as she forced him out of the vehicle. She stumbled out the door immediately after the shove that got Jacob’s leer out of my sight.
Thank god Hans and Ben aren’t the jealous types, or something bad would happen to him. I still needed to talk to Shantaya about it, though. She should probably be aware that I wasn’t the only one who could leave Jacob a bloody mess if he didn’t keep his eyes in his head.
Now that I was alone, I had to struggle not to break down from embarrassment. I forced my arms to relax: I may have dug my fingers into Ben’s seats when I’d realized how I was dressed and that I was being stared at. At least that explained John’s hasty retreat: he’d been sitting next to his adopted sister while she unconsciously sexy-ified her clothes because she was thinking about her boyfriend. Awkward.
But I didn’t have time to untense and get a hold of myself. Also, I was not going to go through the necessary activities while I was by myself in the back of Ben’s limo. Even though I was back to not being entirely certain whether or not I still had on illusionary panties. Why the hell hadn’t I gotten dressed at Cassie’s?!
I forced myself to get moving before people could start speculating about what was keeping me. They probably wouldn’t have leapt to ‘she’s fingering herself’ but it probably said something that I had. I hastily made for the limo door. The sooner Ben picked out a vein and had a sip, the sooner I could stop thinking about it — and I didn’t exactly need to be caught necking with my boyfriend by new vampire step-mom.
Actually, no. No, what I didn’t exactly need was a new vampire step-mom. I had a mom.
One was enough.
I got out and looked around. The house had a few lights on. I couldn’t see them through the curtains, of course, but light from the hallways spilled out through the gaping hole in the side of the building.
“What happened here?” Jacob asked, staring at the damage. He still managed to sound cocky and condescending, somehow.
“We got in a fight,” Ben answered for me. “Myself and two others, against a rogue vampire.” I looked at him in surprise: I hadn’t noticed that he was waiting outside the house, I’d been too distracted by being embarrassed. Ben pushed off against the wall he’d been leaning against and walked over toward us. “John,” he said in greeting. “Abby. And are these two your ‘puppies?'”
Jacob seemed to bristle, but didn’t say anything — probably because Shantaya grabbed his arm and hissed ‘no, dumbass.’ at him. I nodded numbly. I was going to have to apologize to her for putting her in charge of Jacob’s behaviour. But I would worry about that later. At the moment, I was too busy worrying about the way Ben’s gaze was clearly distracted by my outfit. Specifically it’s neckline. “Jacob and Shantaya,” I said.
“Charmed,” Ben said without actually looking at them. “Please, go on in.”
I wasn’t aware of whether or not they listened. I thought maybe John started pushing them toward the door. But I wasn’t seeing much other than Ben’s eyes locked on mine. He looked hungry. Maybe thirsty? Oh shit, yes: thirsty.
“So,” Ben said softly — just above a whisper, really. It made a tingle run down my spine, like I was being caressed by his voice even though he didn’t have an accent. Clearly I am way too worked up from all that fantasizing in the limo, I scolded myself. Get it together, Abby!
Ben’s lips spread in a wide grin before he continued. “I hear I’m a badass,” he said. I felt my eyes widen. Wha… Oh, fuck: the limo wasn’t warded anymore. Without that — and with Ben’s supernatural hearing — he had to have heard everything I’d blurted at Shantaya and Jacob to cover up my embarrassment. “Apparently that’s hot,” Ben concluded.
“Dork!” I yelped. “I said you were a dork, buster!”
Ben laughed. “A hot, badass dork,” he agreed. He brushed my hair back, but that was really just an excuse to caress my cheek, because it’s not like the hair was in my face. His smile turned a little less shit eatingly goofy. “I also heard you call me your boyfriend. It’s nice to know we’re official now.”
I opened my mouth. Then closed it. I proceeded to imitate a fish a couple more times. “Sh… Shut up!” was the stuttered comeback that finally managed to work it’s way out.
Benjamin grinned. ‘Okay,’ he silently — and exaggeratedly — mouthed. I felt my cheeks heat further, because I’d noticed his fangs when he did it. Just a little.
I also noticed that he was tall. Not that I hadn’t noticed in the past, but right now it occurred to me that I had to look up to see him. And that meant my head was tilted back and my neck was stretched out. And I was pretty sure Ben had noticed it, too. Because of course he had: I’d promised him a nibble, hadn’t I?
I tilted my head just a little to the side, which made my neck that much more accessible. Maybe he’d get it over with. “Well,” I said. “I guess if you want to be really official-official, you’ll have to take me out on a date,” I said thoughtfully. Don’t mind me, I thought at him. I am not offering up my neck, just tilting my head in thought. About dates and stuff. Of course, since he wasn’t a faerie he didn’t pick up on any of that, but that was okay because I was totally offering him my neck. I just didn’t want to admit it.
And, holy fuck was I nervous about it.
I saw him arch his eyebrows, but his gaze was riveted on my exposed jugular. “And we’ll have to spend some more time making out,” I continued as though that were just a given. “Just so it’s fair.”
Ben continued to just admire my neck. “I see,” he murmured distractedly.
Oh god, I thought. See what? Is my outfit still shrinking? Oh shit, is it shrinking more now because I’m thinking about it shrinking more?! I struggled not to shift or fidget and prayed vehemently that my clothes weren’t about to disappear while we were standing on Hans’ lawn. “One nibble,” I blurted despite myself. “That’s all you get, buster. I’ve got important matters to take care of, you know.”
Ben blushed slightly, but somehow his grin turned from teasing to dangerous. He stepped forward and slipped his arms around my waist. The urge to fidget blossomed into the urge to flee, but I managed to hold still other than tilting my head a little further to the side. Anticipation surged inside of me, washing aside the silly fantasies I’d been having in the car; replacing them with memories of being bitten. A pinch of pain when his fangs had sunk in; a surge of bliss when our auras had intermingled.
Ben leaned forward, and his breath caressed my neck. I felt a shiver run through me, and I’m pretty sure I squeaked in response. His lips brushed my skin at the base of my neck and slowly slid along it, gently following the curve of my neck.
My heart was beating heavily. “What are you doing?” I demanded. Why did I sound hoarse? “That’s not a nibble,” I added in protest.
Ben’s arms tightened. He turned his head to whisper into my ear, even though my supernatural hearing would have been able to hear him no matter what. “Well,” Ben said, “If I only get one nibble I’m going to have to make it count. So I’m looking for the best spot to take it.”
I tried to make a reply, but it caught in my throat when Ben went back to his exploration. Oh my god, this is torture! We weren’t even inside, where it would at least be private! My cheeks heated up as I blushed violently, which of course caught his attention because: blood. Ben straightened just enough to kiss right in the middle of one.
“T-tease,” I accused.
“Yes, you are,” Ben agreed. “But since this isn’t a booty call, I’ll just have to manage. Somehow.”
I started to form a response, but Ben covered my lips with his. Anything I might’ve said turned into another squeak — and that was muffled by our mouths pressing together. Then, when he pulled away, his teeth — not his fangs — nipped my lower lip. I stared at him, trembling from the conflicting demands of want more and want to hide!
Then Ben heaved a theatrical sigh. “How you can feel that’s enough is beyond me,” he said. I stared at him, stunned. What? That was it? Was he just fucking with me?! “But maybe next time we can explore that ‘booty call’ idea you had.”
I had?! What?! I mentally yelped. He’s the one who… Okay, so maybe I’d thought of it and just ascribed it to him, but that still made it his idea! I mean: I wasn’t taking credit for it! I wasn’t one of those girl….
Oh fuck it. I was. I so was. I didn’t even feel bad about it. Just anxious and jittery and mortified. Maybe Megan could give me some advice on that.
Ben grinned at my expression, and the dangerous air he’d put on dropped away. He left one hand wrapped around my waist, but brushed the thumb of his other across my cheek. His skin was pleasantly cool against my own. And then he ran his fingers back through my hair, and tilted my head to face him again. “So,” he said without investing his tone with innuendo, “What are these important matters that have brought you by? Is everything going alright with Hans and Jeremy? Megan and Emma?”
I stared back at Ben and blinked with wide eyes. I’d barely registered what he’d said. I was too busy being distracted by the rest of what he’d said — Next time we can explore that ‘booty call’ idea?! Of course, now that I had two girlfriends and two boyfriends, it was starting to sink in that stuff like that might actually be a part of my future. I mean: not just random Hans getting me all swept up in the shower, or Emma and Megan pouncing me in fairieland. But all four of them might just sometimes decide they wanted me.
I started to hyperventilate.
Ben immediately realized I was starting to have a panic attack and shifted into comforter mode: I could see it in his facial expression and body language. Unfortunately, he didn’t actually get to do any comforting, because at about that time Fumiko’s car started pulling into the drive.
As one, Ben and I leapt apart — although Ben almost immediately laughed and relaxed. His eyes sparkled as he turned toward the new arrivals. I shot him a glare. I wasn’t completely sure, but I suspected that his leaping away from me had been an instinctive reaction to compliment my reaction, and not because he would’ve been uncomfortable being caught unawares in an intimate moment. But at least being startled had kicked my ‘hide the freaking out’ response into full gear. I started breathing normally.
Ben took a sidestep closer to me and caught my hand with his. I let him guide me as he approached Fumiko’s car. I was worked up and shaky and so relieved that Emma and Megan and Fumiko were here and would be able to provide a little bit of a buffer between Ben and I. And maybe some guidance, and….
Wait… I had told Emma and Megan about Ben and I, right?