The Count’s carriage returned Elvira with Sally in tow. Virgo must have told some to expect her return for there were servants waiting to retrieve her belongings as she stepped from the carriage.
“Welcome back, M’Lady.” Virgo’s longtime manservant, Gerald bowed to her.
“Thank you, Gerald. This is my lady’s maid, Sally Otterburn. Please see to it she has quarters and let all know that if any harm should come to her, they will answer to me.” Sally looked severely worried about that proclamation.
“I will place her in the rooms adjacent to my own in His Lordship’s wing of the estate where you both reside. And she shall have my personal protection.” Gerald stated, winking at Sally. Elvira smirked as Sally blushed to the roots of her hair.
“Gerald, where can I find him?” Elvira wondered as they went inside.
“He is in the gardens, Lady Elvira. I believe he’s shooting clay targets. He would be most pleased to see you have returned.”
“Thank you. I will call for you if I need you, Sally.”
“Are you sure I am safe here?” Sally asked, looking worried again.
“Sally, you are under Virgo’s personal protection as servant to his mate. No harm shall come to you.” Elvira reassured her. Sally nodded, knowing Elvira wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t true. She followed Gerald up the stairs as Elvira turned toward the gardens.
She found him right where Gerald said he would be. She watched him for a few moments as he called for the clays to be shot into the air before he fired them all down again.
She admired his physique, the play of muscles beneath his clothing, remembering that body pressed close against her own.
The melancholy of leaving her home began to leave her as she felt calm and at peace in his presence once more.
She moved to sit on one of the stone benches behind him as she waited for him to finish his sport. This gave her the distinct advantage of watching him fully without distracting him.
“This is where I belong. she repeated to herself.
The Count had his rifle held upwards, as the manservant was given the order to fire the clay pigeon target. It went off with a sharp crack, and the Count followed his target with a well trained eye, blowing it out of the sky as he took aim and fired. The gunshot could be heard across the grounds, and a few of his wolf pack court were in attendance, all applauding his skill. He released the spent cartridges and reloaded, while the manservant repacked the firing unit. All while this was happening, he was oblivious to Elvira’s arrival…but someone else, had seen her arrive.
“Mind if I join you?”
The classical tone of a well bred Englishman’s voice was heard, and it was said by a well dressed man, with immaculately groomed hair. “A fine lady like you should not be seated all alone. I take it my brother has not heard you come back yet?” He said, watching his brother reloading his gun. “He does get carried away with his sports. Typical Alpha. Unlike me, I am more interested in chasing skirts, than blowing up clay pigeons.” He then gave Elvira a smarmy look.
“Name’s Charles. Charles Marulo. A pleasure to meet you.” He reached for her hand and attempted to bring it to his lips.
The Count ordered, and another clay pigeon was sent skyward. The Count made the shot, blasting it from the sky, while Charles chuckled softly. “Am I the lucky wolf today?”
“Mind if I join you?”
She looked up to see a somewhat handsome-looking man standing before her, impeccably dressed and not a hair out of place.
“If you must.” she shrugged, sliding over to make room for him to sit. She ignored him in favor of watching her mate as he shot down a few more targets, each time the distance between shots getting farther and farther away. The man beside her continued to speak as the applause rang out around them.
“A fine lady like you should not be seated all alone. I take it my brother has not heard you come back yet?”
“Well as you can see…he is quite busy at the moment. I’d prefer not to distract him with my presence.” she stated.
“He does get carried away with his sports. Typical Alpha. Unlike me, I am more interested in chasing skirts, than blowing up clay pigeons.” Elvira turned to see him looking her over from head to toe and she got the feeling he was imagining what she looked like naked.
Then something he’d said previously snagged her attention. “Brother?” Elvira asked, turning to look at him. “He is your brother?”
“Name’s Charles. Charles Marulo. A pleasure to meet you.” He reached for her hand and attempted to bring it to his lips, but she quickly withdrew from him, the bond going haywire and causing her enormous amounts of pain and discomfort.
“Don’t touch me!” she hissed, eyes glowing red in anger. “Don’t you EVER touch me without my permission!”
Her outburst had caught the attention of several people around them and they stared openly at Elvira and Charles, growling low beneath their breaths.
“If you even THINK of touching me, I will gut you like a fish and shove your entrails so far down your throat you’ll be tasting your own feces for weeks! Am I understood!” she snarled. Those who had heard of how she had dispatched a low-ranking member of the females of the pack knew her threat wasn’t a false one and eyed the Count’s brother with evil glares and hisses of their own.
Charles certainly didn’t expect such a violent response from his brother’s new mate. He had to admit, her fiesty and wild mean streak gave him a thrill. So forceful and dominant, he could only imagine how she would be in the darkness of his chambers. While he sat quietly, taking back his hand, in his mind he was stripping her down and doing her on the cold hard bench, even with the hisses and glares of the lower pack members that could hear the tirade spewing from Elvira’s mouth.
“If only you could read my mind, oh the pleasures you would see. Course, you can’t, that is privy only to a mate of mine. Which I am yet to find. Then again, she may be right under my nose.”
The Count could hear the growls and carry on behind him, and looked back to see his brother Charles, rising from a seat next to Elvira. She was back! He smiled broadly, unaware of the interaction and handed his gun to his man servant.
Striding over, he could barely contain himself, reaching for her waist so he could pull her up from sitting into his arms. He immediately would nuzzle and sniff her neck affectionately, while the rest of the court would start to filter away, knowing he would want time with his woman.
Charles saw his cue to leave, and stepped backwards, winking at Elvira, then chasing off after another female, who giggled at his sweet words. When out of sight, the Count raised his head, and his eyes poured over her.
“My love…how is it you grow even more beautiful when we are parted? Did your visit go well?”
“I’m sorry I was gone for so long. My leaving…has upset my brother something awful it seems. He is not exactly…thrilled…with our union.” she admitted in a small voice. She pulled away reluctantly, turning her back on him to stare out upon the grounds.
Between her brother and his…attitude, and now Virgo’s brother seemingly having designs upon her person, her thoughts were awhirl and she was beginning to feel like she was being pulled in several directions at once.
She hated this feeling of uncertanty inside of her. She loved Virgo, that she knew and couldn’t imagine being away from him, with or without this bond between them.
“Maybe if he had courted me properly, Barty wouldn’t have an issue with this?” her subconcious stated.
But they were not normal human beings…and being who and what they were demanded a strict set of rules, seperate from those of mortal man. She knew this in her heart and in her mind. Barty would have most likely had an issue with it anyway because he was her brother and he loved her. He was simply trying to protect her, like their father had done.
“Oh why must everything be so difficult?” she whispered, bowing her head. She wanted to cry, but she had no more tears left to give.
“One of the things that I love about you, is that you are a woman than knows her own mind. If you recall, I waited for you to be ready to come to me, that night in the garden. Not until you knew what your heart desired, did I allow you to show yourself to me.”
If she listened to this, and how he spoke with conviction, she would know that the Count would not hold her to him, if that was not what she wanted. The Count didn’t smile, just stared off across the grounds, feeling her pain.
“I can give you anything your heart desires…but only you can gain peace of mind. If you need space….if you need to finish things with your family, I will let you go. Even if it kills me.”
She listened to his words, the conviction behind them and realized this was what she needed to hear. He would give up his pack, his status as Alpha, his very own life, his soul to see her happy.
This was where she needed…no…this was where she wanted to be. No one was cohercing her, she wasn’t under any kind of spell or voodoo magic. This was the power of absolute love.
She smiled and turned in his arms, wrapping her own around his neck, eyes shining with love and happiness. She repeated her words to him that she spoke the night they consumated their union in her back gardens.
“You are my mate. As I cannot deny who I am, I can no longer deny what you mean to me. I am yours, body, mind, heart and soul.”
So spoken, she leaned upwards, covering his lips with her own and pouring every ounce of love she felt for this man into that one kiss.
She was home.
This was a rare thing, in today’s world. Over the short time they had known each other, they acted out the epitome of the perfect love story.
There was no need for jealous games, or twisted words, to prove that there was a love between them. Though both dark creatures, what they shared was more pure than that of which the Angels believed. The lengths that the Count was willing to go to, in order to keep her fed, alive and happy, would be more than any other male in her life. He had already plotted out how to gain her meals, how to feed. In his idle moments, he actually was smug by the ideas. He could picture his Elvira, his private succubus, luring some poor sap into her web of destruction, sucking the life out of them, while being in her luscious demonic form. He of course, would wait in the shadows, as the werewolf, having drawn the victims out for her to feed. And then when she had, and was renewed with the life giving soul food, he would take her…again and again.
The Count broke from the kiss, and then he could not help himself. He wanted to seal their union. Going down on bended knee before her…he asked…
“Lady Elvira….my most adored…will you be my wife, my mate for life?”
“What is it? What’s the matter?” she asked. Instead, he took her hands in his and got down on one knee. Her heart, already overflowing with love for him, threatened to burst in her chest.
“Lady Elvira….my most adored…will you be my wife, my mate for life?”
Now when one receives a marriage proposal as sincere as that, they tend to draw out the suspence…hemming and hawing and pretending to think about their answer and making the poor man sweat with nerves and anticipation. Elvira was no such person.
Tears in her eyes (and who knew she had any tears left) and a smile on her face, she answered him.
Looking up at Elvria expectantly, he may have been the Alpha wolf, but he gladly bow before her to gain her hand. When she uttered yes, and so strongly, he took out a small black box from his pocket and then opened it. A sparkling white diamond set on a gold band, and he reached for her ring finger and slipped it on, the perfect fit. The Count brought her ringed finger to his lips, and planted a soft kiss, knowing she was tearful, but she would not have seen the fact he had tears in his eyes. Only when he raised his head, could she see the glistening of his eyes.
Rising up, he swept her up into his arms, before she could say another word, and started to walk his beloved back into their domain. The castle was their home, together. Up the stairs he would take her, for they truly deserved this special time alone.