Disclaimer: I am in no way benefiting from this story. The added character(s) are from my own imagination. Any similarity between the characters and events in this story to those in real life are purely coincidental. Once again, the lore in this story was made up in my head and was written for the pleasure of the readers. Please read and enjoy. Thanks, Reesy
Repaying A Gift
Daedalus had recovered from the moment his life seemed to be ending, and as dawn shed its soft shroud over the newly wedded couple, quiet slumber came upon them. They slept and for the first time in their lives, Daedalus and Elaine were genuinely happy as they set to making his home theirs.
Elaine had lost the opportunity to have a family of her own but she gained so much more in her Kindred life. It wasn?t as though she had given it up. The choice was hers but like a candle that burned brightly for a while, the wick was about to go out forever and would be buried and forgotten if not for Lillie?s Embrace.
Lillie and Daedalus were Elaine?s family now and along with them would come thousands of others in their clans. She had a link through blood ties to both and she hoped the blood tie to Daedalus? clan would draw her closer to them. In time she would feel like she was part of a much larger family, but for now Elaine felt safe and secure knowing she was married to one of the most powerful and yet gentle of men on earth.
Living below Julian?s mansion was far different from living in her apartment at the Fostoria Hotel and it took some adjusting for Elaine to get used to this new home. Daedalus hoped she would get used to living below ground although she would be able to go above ground any time she desired thanks to Lillie.
"Are you ready to go to the club Elaine?" Daedalus asked as he waited disguised, as he was accustomed to be when he accompanied her to the Haven. He really didn?t want to leave just then because of the way she looked at him in her mirror. Their nights at home were filled with excitement and wonder as she became more and more aware of her bloodlines to the Toreador clan and the hint of this pleasure was in her eyes as she finished preparing for their departure.
"Will you protect me from danger?" Elaine asked as she gazed at him while waiting for her.
"Danger will not visit you while I am nearby." Daedalus answered.
"If the wolf comes near, will you throw yourself in its path so it will not lunge for my throat?"
"If the wolf shows up I will devour it before it leaps."
"And what will happen when it?s devoured?" Elaine asked, as she came to him, intrigued by his response.
Daedalus put his arm around her waist and whispered in her ear "Then I will become the wolf and as the beast emerges you will gain the mastery over it and lure it to your secret place where love and life become one and the beast satisfies the only need it has. To bring it?s mistress--"
"Shh, I want to wait to find out" Elaine put her index finger over his lips and looked up into his dark eyes. As Daedalus drew her to him she felt the gentle pressure of his lips on hers and sensed the beast already beginning to emerge. She had to perform at the Haven tonight and the beast was threatening to appear prematurely. This more than any other pleasure she found in life was beckoning to her yet she must be the one to master the beast, subdue it and make it wait until she had paid her due to her appreciative audience and to her Sire. So with great strength and promising him she would seek out the beast later that night, Elaine abated the enormous appetite growing in her mate.
Looking down from his usual perch in Lillie?s upstairs chamber, Daedalus was relaxed and while his heart leapt when the music began, he was visibly happy for the first time in many years. Lillie could see that the life of a devoted husband suited Daedalus and she felt a certain pride in being instrumental to his happiness.
Daedalus, dressed in the fine dark suit and wearing the wig that had become part of his second life as Elaine?s body guard, actually looked fairly handsome and he was careful to wear the tinted glasses that hid not only those black eyes but also the love behind them. He would have rather been standing back stage but there were too many distractions to take his concentration away from his occupation, safeguarding his wife, so the upstairs chamber became his lookout. Besides, Cash was there at Daedalus? request when he was not taking care of business for Julian.
"I know you want to be down there Daedalus but this is really better. Elaine would not perform at her best if you were so near." Lillie sensed his wish to be at his wife?s side. "Others might try to engage you and take your mind off your charge."
"Yes I would like to be down there but she will be safer with me here. You are right that it would be a distraction for both of us." He said this remembering that he had almost prevented her from keeping her commitment tonight.
Noting the change in his body language and seeing the pleasure he felt slowly creeping into his features, Lillie began to feel that she might not have had an artist tonight. "Being joined to a Toreador is a curse as well as a blessing." Lillie said with a delicious smile on her lips. Watching Daedalus? expression and noticing the slightest change in his bearing, she saw and she knew that Elaine was more woman than Daedalus had ever been with before, and unlike the others, Lillie had Sired his wife so she secretly knew the pleasures they enjoyed.
It was not like the last time when she Sired Zane. He was reckless and took lives where there was no need and in the end, her work of art turned to a hideous specter that she eventually destroyed much like the painting Daedalus had destroyed the night she confessed to him her part in the "supposed" Final Death of their Prince.
A night she had at times wished never happened and at other times wished had a different outcome. Julian still saw Caitlin but Lillie noticed that of late he was spending more time at home and in the club which was a definite change from the previous months. Daedalus had noticed it too.
"Being with the Toreador gives one essential pleasure and I have noticed lately that there is another inmate making inroads where there had been road blocks until recently." Daedalus said carefully while not taking his eyes off the stage area and the crowd below them. "Perhaps he realizes what he cast off and fears he will never have it again. He came to me the night he learned that Elaine and I were lovers and while he had no idea that you were the one to bring us together again, he was made to see that he had not been there for you and that was the reason I enlisted myself in your service. Lillie, he seemed guilty about something but I did not ask him what had happened. After our meeting of Primogens that evening I know he wanted to talk to me about my nights away but instead he took you aside into his study. It has been since that night that I have seen a difference in the way he is around you."
Daedalus was still careful with his words not wanting Lillie to feel compelled to share anything with him but at the same time, hoping his insights would encourage her to open up to him. She had given Elaine and he so much that Daedalus hoped they could begin to repay her for all her love and sacrifices on their behalf.
"I?ve noticed a change in the way Julian treats me too and at your wedding, I caught his glance more than I had for weeks. I?m not putting any stock in it but I will tell you what happened that night in his study after you left."
"Lillie, I am sorry. I did not mean to pry into your affairs, only your thoughts." Daedalus apologized.
"It?s alright Daedalus. I want to tell you." She came to his side at the window and shared with him her plight that evening.
She didn?t touch him, but standing very near Daedalus he felt a very great pain swelling in his chest as if his air were being cut off and he could not breathe. How could Julian have done this to Lillie and how could she have resisted his advances that night? Kindred were not held by the same boundaries humans were and they sometimes took from those innocent humans what they wanted and then gathered more from their own kind. It was selfish and yet they did it because they could, and at times, a Prince was bound by even less.
Feeling her pain, Daedalus took his eyes off the stage momentarily to comfort Lillie and thought that perhaps it was a mistake to bring it up. Putting his hand on her shoulder, he felt something new for Lillie almost like the she were related to him or--he knew what it was. Lillie was the maker of his mate and she was like a Mother to Elaine. Their bond was closer than he realized and his heart just opened up to make room for one more family member. They weren?t just Kindred, they were family now.
This would make it more possible to repay Lillie for all she had done for Daedalus and Elaine and yet she was unaware of any wish on their part to do so. This desire to thank Lillie came to them every moment they were reminded of what their existence had been before she Embraced Elaine and gave her to Daedalus and what their life would have been if she had not done so. With a thankful heart Daedalus would now look after Lillie, and in any way possible, help to bring back to her the happiness she lost with the introduction of Caitlin Byrne.
Somehow feeling a greater responsibility to Lillie now Daedalus vowed in his heart to protect her and try to do whatever he could to make her happy. At the moment, it meant keeping her childe safe from harm so he turned his attention back to Elaine who was singing her heart out on stage. It was an occupation that he carried out with pleasure.
As Elaine finished her last set, she left the stage making her way to Lillie?s upper chamber when a figure stood between her and the back stair. She froze for a moment thinking it might be Daedalus but the outline was not his. She would go back to the stage area and make her way through the crowd to safety. Fans were at times allowed back stage but this solitary man standing there seemed less like a fan and more like someone she had seen fleetingly many months ago and she did not want to see him again.
Her mind raced and though she sensed that he was not Kindred, she did not want to meet this man head on. What was it that drew this man to her? It was at first daunting and now it was annoying. She could probably deal with him but it was not in her nature to take on strange men who were attracted to her and if he thought she were not the seemingly helpless victim he felt she was, needing a security team around the clock, the masquerade might be exposed.
In an instant Daedalus and Lillie knew something was not right and both flew to the corridor leading to the stage. As they reached the doorway to the corridor, they heard him telling Elaine that he missed seeing her and hearing her sing at the Haven and just wondered what had happened to her. Both waited for her response. Maybe there was no need to interfere.
"Look, I know I?ve been a pest but I don?t mean you any harm. I just wanted to talk for a few minutes. Maybe go out for a couple of drinks and get better acquainted. I?m not a bad guy. I?ve just gotten a bad rap." Jayce told Elaine hoping to make inroads with her.
"Going out with you is out of the question and I want you to leave now." said Elaine in her firmest tone. This was the first time they had spoken to each other and it was a little alarming for her. She didn?t experience fear like she used to yet neither did she want this kind of attention from another man. "I am a married woman and my husband will be here momentarily to pick me up so you had better leave. He won?t hurt you if you leave now, but, . . ." Elaine could not finish. She was not sure what Daedalus would to this man but she knew the potential and it frightened her.
"Married? Since when? What did you do, run off to Vegas? The last time I heard you were unattached." Jayce said with some confidence. "I think you?re just trying to get rid of me," he said as he took one step toward her.
"You-are-very-much-mistaken!" Came a slow, deliberate, ominous voice from out of the darkness behind Jayce. Suddenly, the voice that had been about 40 feet behind him was in an instant at his ear telling him in a quiet, yet threatening tone that Jayce did not mistake for a security guard, "Leave this place and never come near my wife again or you will not have a choice whether you live or die." It had more the tone of one who would guard his wife with his own life and if there were a chance for escape it almost vanished when he hesitated, questioning Elaine?s marital status. Too shaken to speak, Jayce was paralyzed with fear for the first time, knowing that his life had almost ended.
In that moment, Elaine knew Daedalus meant to be more than her escort and bodyguard when they ventured out. He would keep her safe at all costs and anyone who tested the limits of his restraint would pay dearly. Human laws did not bind him and yet he would not take a human life if given a choice. Still his words from earlier in the evening before they left their home came back to her-- "If the wolf shows up I will devour it before it leaps."
Just as Jayce was turning to leave, a door from the back way out of the corridor opened and the street light shone upon them all. He saw Lillie and then he saw a man with a dark suit and long, dark, shoulder length hair holding Elaine and perceived him as the husband sheltering his wife from a dangerous animal and remembered him as the one who held him off along with another biker back stage the night he had sent her flowers. This man did not look any bigger than he was and yet he seemed to have such strength. Neither one of them stood a chance against him so now he understood that his man was not just part of the Haven?s security team. He was there for a special reason.
Feeling defeated for the third time while trying to get close to Elaine, Jayce left through the back door and as he was going for his bike, he was met by the man who had opened the back door letting the street light shine in. Again! It was Cash. Who were these people who were so determined to keep him away from Elaine Robb? Before Cash could say anything to him, he informed Cash that they would not see his face there again. If he had just been told that the lady was married he wouldn?t have bothered her.
Cash just yielded to him and let him ride off. He entered the corridor and walked toward Daedalus and Elaine.
"Whatever happened in here must have worked. You put the fear of God in that guy. He swore he would never come back here or bother your wife again." Cash said with a grin.
As Jayce rode away, still rattled from the near death experience, he couldn?t shake off the fear he felt hearing that voice. It was a voice you maybe only hear in movies or on TV. It was one that came out of the shadows or in a dark alley. Haunting and deep in the chest. Slow, deliberate, and made you feel horror right in the pit of your stomach. Jayce felt confidant enough to defy the restraining order Lillie had signed against him, but after this encounter, never would he try to come near Elaine again. This had been enough to keep him away for the rest of his life. A life he might not have otherwise had but for the grace and restraint of a husband who protected that which was most precious to him with fierceness and a strength that belied his size. Any questions Jayce had about who had put the piece of paper in his pocket with Elaine?s name and phone number on it fled. It didn?t matter anymore. He still had all his limbs and his life so he would leave well enough alone.
Upon their return to their home, as promised, Elaine rewarded her hero. The beast had again threatened to appear while in the corridor behind the stage but for a very different reason, to ward off the wolf before it could lunge for the throat of that which it held most dear.
Julian heard about the third and final encounter Elaine had with her would-be paramour and was grateful that Daedalus was there to protect her. Being the newest family member, he felt a caring and concern for her welfare. It was for this reason that Daedalus waited to bring it up and also out of regard for their friendship and because Julian was his Prince. Now that Julian brought it up himself, Daedalus felt free to express his views of the way Julian had been absent and neglecting something very dear to him.
"Daedalus, I know you didn?t want Elaine to be Embraced if it could be avoided so I can appreciate the way you must have felt when there was no other choice. It was either let her slip away forever or keep her forever. I too don?t want humans Embraced because it is probably the most painful thing they will ever experience, going through the change and then trying to get them to feed to stay alive is possibly the hardest part." Julian said sensing that his friend wanted to talk about something but wasn?t willing to bring it up.
"That is right. I never wanted Elaine to experience what we did because I love her and because it hurts deeply to see our loved ones suffer. There is another loved one in my new family who suffers and has done so for a very long time. I do not question what you do in your private life but my wife is the childe of a woman who is devoted to you Julian and it brings me pain to know that she is not good enough for you now that you have a human woman in your life." Daedalus was treading very close to an encounter that could end the friendship he and Julian have had for many years.
"I am not trying to anger you Julian and I am grateful to have your friendship as well as sharing your home. But now Lillie is part of my new family, and I have made a vow in my heart to try to make her life happier so I must talk to you about this even if it drives a wedge between us. It is not what I want but Lillie is dearer to me than I realized and last night it became apparent to me as I watched over her club, her artists and her patrons. You are not there as often as you used to be and it is because you are involved with a human woman whom you do not intend to Embrace."
"Daedalus! I care very much about Lillie and as far as Caitlin is concerned, what I do is my business. It?s not open for discussion." Julian flashed back at Daedalus.
"I understand, but you have to understand too that this is not going to go away just because you run to Caitlin and leave Lillie?s needs to someone else. I have a new wife and responsibilities that come with this new lifestyle, and part of that responsibility is caring for Lillie. As I said, I do not wish to anger you but I do take this seriously. What will you do when you have to leave Caitlin Byrne behind?" Daedalus asked. He just threw it out there in front of Julian letting him know he was taking the direct approach, not beating about the bush. This was far too important for Daedalus to be casual about.
Julian knew why Daedalus was taking this stance with him and he, being a businessman knew the direct approach often set a matter straight. Sometimes you had to throw it out on the table, exposed and squirming. It was Julian who was exposed and squirming now. It wasn?t the way he wanted to start his day, albeit 6:00 PM, but if he and Daedalus were going to continue living under the same roof they would have to have it out. He calmed himself and continued.
"Daedalus, I have always regarded you as the most honorable among men and I still do. I have given this some thought and while I am not yet ready to break off my relationship with Caitlin, I recognize the validity of your viewpoint and your position. You?re right of course that in time Caitlin will either have to be Embraced or I will have to let her go. It?s not something I have allowed myself to consider often because of the way I love her, but I can?t ignore the facts forever. I promise you Daedalus, I will deal with this but please give me more time." Julian knew he could not hold off Daedalus too long and he also realized that Daedalus did not make issues where there were none so this was important to both of them.
Seeing the pain in Julian?s eyes, Daedalus knew that Julian had pangs over the way he had treated Lillie and was ultimately torn between the love of his life and the love who had supported him through almost every trial he had faced as Prince. Julian wanted to do right by Lillie and getting it all out in the open today reawakened the guilt he felt when he was with Caitlin and thinking of Lillie and the reverse as well. Julian also understood now where his friend stood. Lillie was more to him than the Sire of his wife. He considered Lillie to be part of his family and as such deserved his loyal devotion as a family member. Sensing that Julian was coming to a turning point in his life where these two women were concerned, he took his leave and allowed him time to sort this out.
"Thank you Julian. It is all I ask. We will talk again soon."
Daedalus returned to his home feeling that the battle was won but the war was not over. Yes he had gotten Julian to talk about it and admit that he was right, but getting Julian to do the right thing was something else. Naturally he hoped Julian would forsake his relationship with Caitlin and return to Lillie?s arms, but it might not happen that way. If Julian at least Embraced Caitlin then Lillie would know that it was over forever and could finally go on with her life. Obviously she could not continue living in Julian?s home, but at least she would know where things stood once and for all time.
Silently and with the approach of a secret lover Daedalus came near to Elaine putting his hand on her waist and his lips to her ear and whispered, "My dear one, you look more lovely tonight than I have ever seen you. Is it that the Toreador blood that runs through your veins or is it my love that gives you such a glow?" Not waiting for her response, Daedalus gathered Elaine into his arms.
Elaine would have told him that it was his love that made her happier than she had ever been but rather than tell him, now she would show him. She loved the way he came to her, silently and with no warning. She now sensed him, whereas in her human life, she did not until she felt the breeze come through her window. Now she knew he was approaching and it delighted her knowing he still came to her with romance in his heart and so she would light the candles knowing that they could only see each other clearly up close and that was where Elaine wanted to be, close to Daedalus.
Other couples she knew in her human life experienced passion for a few months or even a few years of their married life, but as time went on, they found it seemed to pass and they either fell into a pattern of having gratuitous sex or their marriages began to flounder.
Even though her marriage was still new, she and Daedalus seemed to find new ways to satisfy each other?s needs and each new time was more fulfilling than the previous. Maybe it was in part because of the Toreador blood that ran through her veins but she had the same blood Lillie had and yet she knew Lillie was not really happy.
Elaine felt with great certainty that while the Toreador blood of her Primogen helped, it was without a doubt the love and devotion of Daedalus that kept her happy and waiting for his return. It was not even her sexuality that aroused in her this thirst for him each night. Her need for Daedalus sprang from a strong heart that was so full it filled their home and each time it beat stronger than it did while she was still human. His heart seemed to beat more often too and yet it wasn?t possible unless they fed so what it was that made their hearts beat strong and as one was their honest love for each other. Something Lillie and Julian had not experienced in their relationship. Maybe it was not too late to show them the way and this Daedalus and Elaine would try to do.
Elaine knew the reason her husband visited Julian earlier that day and felt real gratitude that he had such compassion for her Sire. It gave her a feeling of family. Something she lacked in her human life and now experienced a thousand times over.
Today Elaine would have her first visit from a woman very close to Daedalus. This visit came in the person of Camilla, the recent widow of Goth. Elaine had been told the story of their blood ritual, going back to a more primitive and barbaric time for the Nosferatu.
When Camilla called on Elaine, she came with knowledge that Elaine was not Nosferatu. Would this matter to Camilla? Elaine was not sure and wanted their first meeting to be pleasant but she would not apologize for being Toreador. Sensing the concern in Elaine, Camilla approached her carefully and when within inches of her opened her arms wide to welcome Elaine in to the fold.
"At last we meet. My dear, this visit has been some time in coming and I am grateful that you have agreed to it." said Camilla, hoping to disarm her Primogen?s wife. "All who have seen and met you at your wedding agree that you are the perfect complement for Daedalus. While some hoped he would choose from his own clan, none can say for sure that he could have made a better choice."
"He didn?t make the choice, Camilla. I was given to him and he paid a Bride Price for me. That is all. But thank you so much for your kindness to me now." Elaine said with a beaming smile and instant love in her heart for this ancient woman with greater knowledge and wisdom than Elaine could imagine.
"Some would say that Daedalus made a better choice than his Prince but I am not here to speak ill of Julian. I have known him for many years and while he vanquished my mate, he did so with fairness and it was just. Goth accepted Julian?s challenge and lost his life. But that was not what made his Final Death just. It was the defiance toward Julian, his Prince that Goth exhibited that made the execution just. I only speak of this now because I want you to know that I respected Julian for giving back the baby to her mother and offered up his own life in exchange. Goth was filled with rage and hatred and was about to become stronger than any Kindred had a right to be. It is not an honorable way to overthrow a Prince. A Prince who put the lives of his Kindred ahead of his own. So even though I lost my mate that night, I respect Julian and Daedalus for their part in preserving the masquerade and helping me to come back into the family I had once forsaken to be with Goth."
Camilla had given her much to think about and Elaine began to build a bond with this wise woman. "I too have found much to appreciate in my Prince." Remembering his great kindness to her when she stayed in his home after Daedalus? accident, she and Daedalus were kept safe until the ring was found and returned. Elaine had to be careful not to disclose the fact to Camilla that Daedalus had lost the ring that was a symbol to his people, one that was becoming closer to her by the minute. It would be so easy to share this secret with Camilla, feeling a confidence like this would draw them closer, but this could be Daedalus? undoing so she said nothing. "I also appreciate what you said about the choice he has made of lovers. Lillie is my Sire and because of this, she is like my Mother. She treats me as a daughter and yet we are more than that. She gave me life when my human heart was faltering and then gave me to Daedalus. So our bond is more than a Sire and Childe. Daedalus and I would both rather see Julian leave Caitlin Byrne behind if he is not going to Embrace her and allow Lillie back into his life."
"I know this Caitlin Byrne. She came to our hideaway in the park the night Goth and I were going to observe our blood ritual using the infant. She pleaded with me not to sacrifice the baby and opened the way for Julian to step in as a substitute. She did this not knowing he was there but none the less gave me a reason to listen to Julian?s offer and I agreed to release the baby to his care and give her back to her Mother. I subsequently lost my mate but I gained much in his passing. My Prince graciously offered me solace and gave me over to Daedalus? care while my heart healed from the pain of losing the only mate I will ever have. I could have another but this is not what is in my heart. The fact that I returned to my former state and have the appearance you now see, I doubt any would choose me." Camilla turned away from Elaine slightly with a downcast look of humiliation and acceptance of the way she had chosen with Goth.
This was too much for Elaine. She wrapped her arms around this ancient woman who was quickly becoming like a sister to her and a tear escaped which Camilla felt as it fell to her shoulder. Composing herself, Camilla backed away just far enough to see the sorrow in Elaine?s eyes and saw there was indeed true affection for her in them.
"Please, dear child, do not mourn for my losses. I have ceased to and thanks to my clansmen and especially the great kindness of your husband, I have found the strength to go on and live." Camilla consoled Elaine.
"Dear Camilla, it is more for your pain than your losses that my tears came. Knowing how close you are to my husband and because you have come to me with such openness today I feel a bond with you that is as close as a sister. I am grateful to you for making my first connection with your clan so meaningful and I am sure we will be life long friends now." Elaine smiled widely as she again accepted the embrace and something extra of this new friend and sister.
Elaine could hardly wait to share the details of her visit from Camilla with Daedalus. It came at a time when he was away on business for Julian and she was glad for the private time to get to know this woman of his clan who was also one of his most cherished friends.
Daedalus could tell there was something new and different about his home when he came down the stairs to find Elaine more animated than usual. Being away for a few hours he was not aware that she had a visitor. This piqued his interest and before he could ask what it was, she flew to him smiling wide and greeting him in a way that she never had before. This was definitely new and while it amused him, he was accustomed to a different greeting. Or rather, he was used to being the one who greeted her and yet he found her enthusiastic chatter to his liking as well.
"Slow down and tell me what happened today." Daedalus attempted to calm her a bit. "I surmise you had company and this elation you are exuding is the result." He was trying to hide his amusement at the childlike happiness of his mate.
"The most wonderful thing happened today Daedalus. I had a visitor I never expected and yes this is the reason I am so happy. While you were out, Camilla came to welcome me and I found the most caring and loving sister in her. For the first time since you and I became a family with Lillie, I am beginning to feel like a part of a bigger family. I never had this before so it means a great deal to me." Elaine spoke from a full heart.
"So, now I understand. I am happy her visit had this effect on you. I will ask her to visit more often." He teased with a wide grin, light from the candles shining in his dark eyes. "And I was under the mistaken impression that I was the one who put you into such an ecstasy." Again teasing her, he put his head back looking up to the ceiling, as if he could not believe that anyone else could bring such joy to Elaine.
Not sure of his meaning, Elaine put one hand at the back of his head and the other on his cheek, and brought his face back to hers, and looked deep into his eyes, seeing mirth at her expense. She knew he had a gentle heart and was merely joining in her happiness so she let this pass but later that night he would be at her mercy and mirth would turn to respect.
"You light my way in the darkest night and I need no other to bring my heart the pure joy it revels in now. If you will allow me to share the events that have me euphoric it would give me greatest pleasure. I know that she is one of your dearest friends as well." Elaine said with a song in her voice.
Touched by the softness of Elaine?s tones after he had teased a heart more tender than his own, he gratefully sat and listened with interest to the details of her afternoon with Camilla.
"I am glad that you finally met Camilla and have such feelings for her. Yes she is a dear friend and Julian did turn her over to my care when Goth died. Perhaps you were not aware of the gift I gave to Julian as he went to fight Goth. I offered to go myself in his place or at his side but he refused out of regard for my relationship with my clansmen. I for my part had no earthly reason to live longer but he still refused to allow me to share in this fight. The only thing left for me to do was to share my blood with him so that he would have the strength to fight against Goth and hopefully defeat him. Julian had allowed Goth to live once before and that was a mistake that Goth capitalized on knowing that Julian was a peaceful Prince. Goth did not appreciate it but this peaceful side of Julian is what has held the clans together for so long. It is why I have such respect for him." Daedalus paused to allow Elaine to share more wine with him.
"When the fight was over that night," Daedalus resumed, "Julian brought a heartbroken and downcast Camilla to me knowing that she needed the solace of another of her kind. If I could have, I would have turned back time to allow her to reverse what she had done to herself, reverting back to her former state. That not being possible, I gave her whatever comfort I could. At first she did not want me to see her as she was for she felt such humiliation over her appearance. Goth had led her away from the fold and she as his mate shared with him in Blood Ritual which, as you know, cannot be undone. It was very difficult trying to care for her daily and getting her to feed so she could go on but in time she began to heal, and in helping her I began to feel some comfort. You see my darling, this happened shortly after our first fatal meeting and caring for Camilla helped me to find a way through my long, unending nights. Helping Camilla then helped me to go on and eventually to come back to you. For this I am also grateful to Julian and Camilla."
"She spoke of you with such compassion that I knew you were somehow her savior after Goth died. I too am grateful to Julian and Camilla for giving you what you needed to come back to me."
You have been my savior as well, she thought as she came to Daedalus with a rapture in her eyes that put him entirely at her mercy, and yet tonight you could have paid dearly my husband because you thought I was one to be teased and laughed at so lightly.
He had done it and tonight the Toreador brought her husband to his knees. He would have indeed paid dearly except for her great love of this man.
An illusion Daedalus had never witnessed in her came out as it beckoned the beast in him. It was as if she were the charmer and he were the cobra wavering, waiting for her power to put him in a trance that made him do her bidding.
Once the beast, the charmed, one emerged it exercised great strength as she dominated it and it submitted to her will. This was not a violent ritual but rather a husband holding on for his life as his wife brought forth every vestige of his inward yearning for her and knowing he had not fed before returning home, she demanded that he expend his last ounce of strength to satisfy her ever growing needs. This he did at first with the ferociousness of a wild beast, and later, with a bowed head knowing the charmer had used her instrument to control him, reign him in and finally receive from him humble pleadings to save his life.
Elaine had fed and now was the time to allow his life to go on or to let it go. She held in her hands his precious life and when he went down he was barely aware of the open wound on her forearm but he received with gratitude the life giving fluid that allowed him to go on.
Elaine had not tried to end his life but had found deep within herself the ability to dominate the beast in her husband and to command his heart and mind. These were the better part of her mate and she relished the power she maintained over them. For his part, Daedalus finally understood that she had a far greater mastery over him than he thought possible, and though he had only meant to tease her, he would award her the respect she was due.
There was much room in their life for playful teasing and it had not offended her, but it was a powerful lesson that Daedalus learned. Elaine was no longer the pathetic little singer who tore her heart out every night over him. She was willful and if he had ever, in the past, felt he was stronger than her or needed to protect or provide for her, he knew now that this woman he had devoted his life to was capable of draining that life away, but had not. This she would never do for it would be the end of her existence and so she allowed him to feed from her.
Daedalus did not know that it was blood from another Nosferatu that had given his wife this strength. It was a gift from an old friend and a sister to his new wife. This given by the older sister knowing it was Daedalus who had given his blood to Julian and it was this which helped him kill Goth. Now she had given Elaine the same advantage, knowing she would instead use it to save her husband?s life.
If the previous night did not convince Daedalus of the need to respect the Toreador then nothing would. He awoke feeling like he had been dragged through a knothole in a piece of very strong wood and had come through the other side narrowly escaping with his life. He was instantly aware of what he had been through and turned to see Elaine lying beside him still asleep, and feeling like she was someone he was just beginning to come to know for the first time. Daedalus felt such awe gazing upon his wife. Last night she had held his life in her hands, draining him of every thread of life and when his time was nearly over she gave it back to him. What could cause this? She had only his blood and Lillie?s running through her veins and yet she could have extinguished his life with her will but instead she chose to preserve it.
Whatever it was, Daedalus had very new and different feelings for Elaine now. She was more than a wife, and though he loved her very much, he teetered between respect and fear for her. Would she some night lose her mastery over him and not be prepared to save his life, leaving her alone to the reality of knowing she had killed him? He felt so ill in his stomach over this new concern he had for her that he shuddered, shaking their bed and waking her up.
Elaine opened her eyes and with some alarm saw his agony. She reached out for him and for the first time in his Kindred experience he shrank from her. He had no explanation for this behavior but he felt as if he had to run from her. Not from fear of her, but for her. He sought out Camilla. She was the last one to see Elaine before he returned the night before and perhaps she could shed some light on this phenomenon.
Camilla was not home when Daedalus reached her little hideaway and the only other person he felt he could turn to was Lillie. He would have to tell her the intimate details of the events that took place but what else could he do? He came to Lillie and shed himself of every dignity to seek help for Elaine.
Lillie did not blush, and when he had finished, she looked directly into Daedalus? eyes and said he would not have to fear for his wife because Elaine had a special gift given to her by someone dear to him and that gift would never allow her to end his life. This gift could only be used to preserve it. Daedalus did not understand that the gift given by someone dear to him was blood given by Camilla. He took her to mean that the gift was wisdom and strength given to Elaine by Lillie. Lillie knew and she spoke with such authority that he left her never questioning what she said but rather he felt such relief knowing that Elaine would never lose control and take his life.
Daedalus now returned to his home, hoping his wife would forgive him for his prior actions and understand his fears. When he arrived she was gone. As Daedalus looked around the four walls came at him all at once and as if seeing into a vortex he thought he saw Elaine looking back at him with tears in her eyes, not bloody tears, they were crystal clear and she was walking in the broad daylight though she had not fed.
"I am so frightened for him Lillie. Today I woke up and saw real agony and fear in his eyes and when I reached for him he shrank from me as if I horrified him. I wanted to comfort him for what I had put him through last night but he literally fled from me so that I had no idea where he went. What could have happened to cause this?" Elaine was truly afraid Daedalus had done himself real harm.
"Elaine, he came to me earlier and told me of Camilla?s visit and the night you went through together. He was not afraid for himself, he was afraid for you. Daedalus was horrified but it was because he feared that some night you might not get the mastery over him and you might not be able to preserve his life. Again, this was not fear for himself. He would die a thousand times over to preserve your life, but if you were left alone and knew it was your own doing, would you be able to go on? Could you live with your own actions? You see darling it is his concern that you would be left alone in this world with the knowledge that you had ended his life and he could not bear to let that happen to you." Lillie explained all to Elaine.
"I reassured him that you were given a gift and though I didn?t say it to him, I suspected that Camilla gave you some of her blood when you shared some wine and this was the gift that allowed you to bring him to his knees begging for his life and gave you what you needed to save it. Camilla is a master at the ancient art of alchemy and would know how to balance the scales."
"Balance the scales?" Elaine was bewildered.
"Dear one, the night that Julian destroyed Goth Daedalus gave him some of his blood in wine and this fortified Julian so that he was able to carry out his task. Yesterday Camilla must have shared some of her blood with you in the wine, knowing that your love for Daedalus would only allow you to preserve his life, not take it. You are still so new to this life that you would not have known of her powers and while she knew this, you and Daedalus did not. Camilla loves Daedalus and would give her life for him so this is her way of giving back to him what he gave her when Julian brought her to him that night she became a widow."
Lillie bridged the gap for Elaine so that now she understood, but what must she do to get her husband back? He lay in their bed at times peaceful and at other times tossing and turning as though he were going insane. This was like no other experience Elaine had ever been through, even when he had been hit by the car in the street below her apartment, this was real life. She knew all the facts this time and it scared her.
Lillie did not want to leave Elaine alone with Daedalus in this condition but it was time she paid a visit to Camilla. It had been a long time and Lillie had not seen her much since the night Goth died so perhaps their visit was overdue. Lillie first arranged for servants to stay with Elaine and assist in caring for Daedalus. She also called on some of the Nosferatu women to come and spell Elaine when she needed to feed or to rest. Her club dates were canceled temporarily until Daedalus was out of the woods, as she would never leave his side until he was safely returned to her.
"I have heard that Daedalus is under the influence of some of my alchemy." Camilla said as she came down the stairs to his home. "It was never my intent to cause you such alarm but to repay my debt, I gave you a gift for Daedalus and I see it has had it?s affect."
"I don?t understand. This gift has made him like this?" Elaine was incredulous.
"I know dear. It is part of the ancient alchemy that is causing this, but I assure you, this will pass. It had to be Daedalus or its effects would be useless." Camilla confessed.
"What do you mean?" Elaine asked in obvious ignorance.
"Daedalus shared something with me when he was looking after me. It was of a personal nature and it was about Lillie. He felt true sorrow for her because Julian had forsaken her for this human woman Caitlin. Today she came to tell me what happened to you and Daedalus and now I will tell you what must be done to bring Daedalus around again." Camilla proceeded to explain to Elaine but this must not be shared with Julian or Lillie or what Camilla had done would be for nothing.
"Camilla, I am willing to do anything to get Daedalus back but this not telling Lillie is going to be a real problem for me." Elaine said, afraid she could not keep the truth from Lillie with any success.
"I will handle Lillie. We are old friends and though we have not seen much of each other for years, she will do as I say because she knows I have the way to bring him back." Camilla assured her.
`"Elaine, you must get word to Julian that Daedalus is in this condition and when you do tell him, make sure he knows that this was caused by the alchemy and sharing of my blood with you."
"Won?t he be angry that you?ve done this?"
"He will not be angry." Camilla asserted. "Go now and tell him. In fact, bring him here to see for himself. This will set the stage for what will happen next."
Elaine was off in an instant. The sooner she brought Julian to Daedalus? bedside the sooner her husband?s life would return to normal.
Camilla knew that Lillie would be the one to whom Elaine would go first and through her the news would be given to Julian. It was what she wanted. He had been away from the office all day and no one had been able to reach him until late in the day. Finally Lillie got through to him and he came home as quickly as possible. The car had barely stopped when he was out the door and flying to his old friend?s bedside.
Julian had no idea that his friend was in real danger this time of losing his life. He asked what he could do to help. Camilla spoke to him directly.
"Bring Lillie to us. I instructed her to wait in your home for you to return. You must have come here directly and she did not see you arrive. Please go now!" Camilla commanded him.
Julian never questioned her. He wasn?t sure if there was much else he could do for Daedalus but this he could do. As he reached their home he was met by Caitlin. She surprised him with a visit and he was not prepared to see her.
"Caitlin! What are you doing here?" Julian gasped trying not to sound irritated by her presence. He had rather she not be there with this going on but she had not seen him all day and she had important business to discuss with him.
"Well first of all, it?s nice to see you too. I hope my showing up unannounced hasn?t messed up some plans you might have but we did have a date tonight and I just came by early because of some important work we have to wrap up." Caitlin said a little annoyed and a little curious because of the way he rushed up from what she assumed was the wine cellar.
"We had a date? Oh I?m sorry Caitlin. Can you please wait for a minute? I have to take care of something urgent that can?t wait another second." Dashing away he looked back over his shoulder and knew by her expression that this did not please her but there was nothing he could do. He must reach Lily immediately. Daedalus? life was hanging in the balance.
All Caitlin could hear were broken phrases and vague references to the urgent situation he was dealing with. It wasn?t that she was trying to snoop but it was in her nature as Editor of his paper and she was naturally inclined to pick up on anything that meant trouble. She sensed there was real trouble here. Caitlin didn?t realize the one Julian was speaking to was Lillie until they came out of the study together. They saw her and said no more. Lillie offered a courteous Hello and apologized for not being able to stay and chat and ran off as Caitlin began to say it was all right because she was there to see Julian anyway.
She stopped mid sentence because Lillie was already out of earshot and on her way to whatever disaster awaited her. Caitlin looked at Julian and asked if there were a spilled bottle of wine or something that made her race off like that.
"I can?t stop to explain it to you and I may never be able to, but be assured that it is more serious than spilled wine." He snapped at her and in the next moment regretted answering her that way. "Caitlin, I am sorry. Really this is not the way I intended to spend this evening but I?m afraid I am going to have to cancel our date and if there is unfinished business to attend to, it can either wait until tomorrow or I can look at it later tonight. Please accept my apology." He was almost gasping again and in as much of a hurry as he was when she arrived.
"Julian! I need to talk to you now. This can?t wait." This time she was not talking about work. He barely heard her or the tone of her voice as he again raced to Daedalus. The servants showed her out.
"I can?t believe this. He wouldn?t even take a minute! I don?t know what is going on but I?m so tired of the secrets and being shut out this way. All right then if not tonight, then tomorrow. Tomorrow we will have it all out." Elaine drove away feeling this was the last time she would be put off by Julian.
By now she knew with some certainty that Julian didn?t pose the threat she first thought he did. He was not a mobster but she still knew so little about him, really little more than after their first meeting. It had been over a year now and they were still no closer than this? She had even tried to get together with him last weekend but he had some big gathering to attend, some ceremony he had said. Instead of inviting her to cover it, he acted like it was nothing worth taking up her time with and yet when she asked a few questions about it he was so secretive and was even annoyed that she had an interest in it.
This might not have been of such interest to Caitlin if she hadn?t overheard some of his phone conversation with Lillie just before the ceremony.
"By all means, offer Cameron whatever you can so he will agree to cater the feast after the ceremony and have everything, including floral arrangements ready and set up by tomorrow at 5:00 PM." Julian said to Lillie.
Then responding to her he said, "I believe Elaine will be a vision in your red gown and blue robes. Whatever you can find, I?m sure it will be very appropriate. I?ve always said you had excellent taste and style."
Again he answered her, "If she wants to wear his gift I think that would be lovely. It should go nicely with the rest of her garb. Lillie, Elaine may have once been a plain and simple woman who poured out her heart on stage and went home to an empty apartment each time but thanks to you, she has become a real blessing in our home. I have no doubt that she will make our dear friend a radiant Bride. She will make you so proud and I am happy to be having a part in the ceremony." Julian sounded grateful to Lillie.
Remembering this now made Caitlin feel like an outsider. Julian was her lover but he was far more intimate toward Lillie and this stung. What was their relationship, really? They had been lovers a long time ago and both have said it?s over yet they share the same home. Sure, it?s a mansion big enough to house at least 50 people but why had he not asked her to come and stay over night or for a weekend? Doesn?t Lillie ever leave or visit relatives? She has been known to sleep over at the Haven so she is not home every night. Things just didn?t add up and Caitlin was going to get answers tomorrow or her relationship with Julian was going to change immediately!
Maybe it was already changing. Julian?s evenings were taken up more and more with the business at the Haven and even though he did not neglect his position at the paper, he was becoming less accessible to her personally. Just tonight he broke their date and she could only "assume" they were still going away next weekend. A trip he promised after his rebuff over the ceremony last weekend.
This ceremony was of extra interest to her because she wondered who this Elaine was. She seemed to have some tie to Lillie and Elaine Robb sang at Lillie?s club, but Elaine had not been heard from lately until just two nights ago. Caitlin would not have known this except that she had been to the Haven looking for Julian and saw and heard Elaine on stage.
She had not heard Elaine sing before but she was talking to one of the servers at the club and commented on how beautiful Elaine?s singing was. The employee told Caitlin that Elaine?s voice used to sound so sad but over the last year, and especially tonight, she sounded so different like she was singing with a happy heart for a change.
"Has Elaine been unhappy for some reason?" Caitlin asked.
The server didn?t know. She just noticed a real difference and the change was a pleasant one. Maybe it had to do with the time she had taken off for about two weeks. This was her first night back and she had heard rumors that Elaine got married.
"Married?" The phone conversation came back to Caitlin.
"It?s probably just a rumor but whatever happened, it is nice to have her back at the club." The employee said.
Now Caitlin was more than a little curious. She had interviewed Elaine once about a year ago and felt she had some connection to her. It was about the night stalker and Elaine was almost his next victim. Then she found out he was killed at the Haven and was found by Frank Kohanek.
Frank seemed to have some connection to Julian which she sensed from the way he made references to Julian?s character. Whenever she questioned Julian about the things Frank brought up, they always seemed to break up because Julian never wanted to give her direct answers. She felt she couldn?t remain in a relationship with a man who was so secretive and yet each time she knew she needed him back in her life and they would reconcile.
This time it was going to be different. If he couldn?t be forthright with her, they would be finished for good! It might mean leaving her job with his paper but she had to do what was right for her. Seeing him every day would be too difficult if they were not involved with each other anymore.
"Lillie, Daedalus is worse than ever! He tosses and turns so that we can hardly hold him down. He almost cut himself when he lunged for Camilla and instead hit a glass and it broke. I am so afraid for him." Elaine was truly on the edge. Never had she feared so much for anyone than she did for her husband.
"Camilla are you alright?" Lillie asked. "What can I do to help him?" Her anxiety was hard to hide and although she tried to seem calm for Elaine?s benefit, it was evident in her voice.
"I and my clanswomen will contain him when he turns wild as he did a few moments ago but when he is calm and quiet, you and Elaine will have to minister to him. Elaine you may not feed him. You have my blood in you right now and this is part of what has caused this madness. It will have to be up to you Lillie and perhaps Julian if he will ever show up!" Camilla was running out of patience waiting for Julian. The timing was the important thing and events had to be set in motion and people had to be in place for her to pull this off.
"If I am not able to feed him what can I do? You can not expect me to sit by and do nothing!" Elaine was almost in a frenzy as a tear was very near.
"Your occupation tonight, Elaine, will be to hold him and sooth him until he begins to get out of control again. We Nosferatu are much stronger, and even though we are women, our minds are healthy and clear now and we will prevail over him. But for now, he is calm. You must go to him and help him to feed from your Sire."
Elaine rushed to Daedalus and for the first time since he fell ill she found a little solace just holding him in her arms. Gently pressing his sunken frame to hers, she released that tear that had threatened a minute ago. Lillie couldn?t bear to see her pain and looked at Camilla pleading for his life. Camilla nodded and Lillie broke the skin of her forearm and together they assisted him in feeding.
"Just a little at first. You will have to continue to let him feed a little at a time for he needs to come back to us a little at a time." Camilla informed her.
When he had fed just a little, he closed his eyes for a minute or two and then opened them again and looked up at Elaine with a little recognition in his eyes. "I-thought you . . . had left me-and were human-again." He was barely able to speak but these words tumbled out of him like jagged thoughts that he fought hard to get across to her. It was all he said before he lost consciousness again.
"Daedalus, please don?t! I have never left you. Daedalus?" She looked to Camilla with so much pain that it was hard to watch and Camilla came over to her to comfort her when he suddenly started thrashing again. This time so violently that Elaine was almost thrown from the bedside. Camilla and the other women were having a hard time controlling him when Julian rushed in and was finally successful in subduing Daedalus.
"Well at last!" Camilla glared at him. Julian said nothing but saw how Lillie had to catch Elaine to break her fall when Daedalus? arm almost sent her flying into a table near the bed. Even an unconscious Daedalus was more powerful than all these women who were putting their lives on the line to care for him. After Daedalus was settled down again, Julian looked up and saw that all their eyes were on him. He wanted to defend himself to all of them but instead he turned his attention to Elaine and Lillie.
"Please accept my apology for not arriving a moment sooner. I will not be late again. Nothing and no one will keep me from caring for my--" his chest was heaving and the emotion was strong in his voice feeling that his friend may be slipping away. He was wearing his heart on his sleeve for this dear companion. Someone who has been at his side through so many trials and had offered sincerely to take his place when he prepared to face Goth. This was his true brother and if he could, he would give his life for Daedalus.
Lillie knew this and there was tenderness in her face for the torture Julian was going through now. She wanted to go to him to sooth him now but Camilla darted a look at her that kept her where she was. "Elaine, you may return to your husband now. Your soothing touch will help reduce the fire in him." Camilla?s voice was softer and calmer now.
"I trust you had good reason for your delay Julian. I did not mean to upbraid you when you arrived. We will all do what we can to bring Daedalus out of this." Camilla apologized to her Prince.
Julian came to Camilla and let her look into his eyes to see that his intent was to save his friend and that he was at her command. "I had an unexpected visitor and I sent her away as quickly as possible without giving away the terrible scene before us here. It would not do to endanger the masquerade but it also would not do to lose my Primogen." He said Primogen but she got his meaning. There was a lump in his throat and the word friend would have evoked too much emotion and feeling for him to control himself so he spoke of Daedalus in less personal terms. Tonight Julian was not there as a Prince but as a dedicated servant to his loyal ones.
Camilla put her hand on his and they shared a heartfelt gaze that somehow comforted both of them. They would need one another tonight to help their beloved friend survive.
Life And Death
Passing the longest night of his life, Julian was exhausted from continually holding down a delirious Daedalus and if he worked tirelessly then the women who attended to Daedalus did more. He felt like just another worker along side these women who neither fed nor rested. When Julian took his turn attending to Daedalus, the women had other things to attend to. It was a night of hard work and their patience was being tried to the limit. At dawn?s first light, it seemed that they had failed for Daedalus, after nearly fighting off Julian for the umpteenth time suddenly fell back and it appeared that he had stopped breathing.
Elaine rushed to his side, frustrated, her face tear stained and her heart feeling crushed believing her mate was dead. She lay her head on the bed and sobbed, her body wracked by the long night of torture she had gone through only to lose Daedalus in the morning. This was, she felt, her own doing and now she was blaming herself for his Final Death. This horror wrung from her silent tears as she lay, arms outstretched across his chest, hands clasped as if in prayer, knowing that her own death was not far off.
Now Camilla turned to Lillie and said "This is the moment. Go now. You will know what to do." Lillie herself had worked tirelessly through the night, going to Daedalus each time Camilla gave her the signal and was now ready to collapse from exhaustion and not feeding since the day before but she gathered what last strength she had and nearly stumbling as the hem of her dress caught the edge of the bed, went to Daedalus? side and again opened the flesh of her arm.
She didn?t have much more to give but she offered up to him what she had left, nearly falling as she wavered above him. Julian saw her life draining away and hurried to her side to support her. It cut right through him to see this loving act on Lillie?s part as she tried to save Daedalus. She would do what he had not been able to do and he felt such love for her at this moment as he saw his dear friend begin to stir.
Lillie went limp in his arms and Julian felt something like hysteria rising in him. He would have thought losing his best friend would bring about this feeling but at the moment he felt relief for Daedalus, he suddenly felt great despair for Lillie. Her love for her Childe and her oldest friend had motivated her to sacrifice her life for them. Julian could not let her light go out. She gave up too much and before it was too late, he would save her himself.
This time, without waiting for Camilla to command him, Julian provided the blood Lillie needed to keep living. He never believed he could lose someone who meant so much to him and yet he almost lost her just as Daedalus seemed to live again.
Elaine and Daedalus looked on gratefully as Julian gave Lillie what he could. It was a tender scene, Julian holding Lillie in his arms after she had fed, his body convulsing from the pain of seeing her almost pass before his eyes and the sound of a broken heart releasing it?s spent emotion in the form of quiet sobs. With a rasping voice promising to keep always at her side as long as they lived. Finally, Julian knew what was most precious to him and he would never give her up again.
Julian had not felt this terrible heart wrenching pain since he held Evelyn in his arms watching her die and being powerless to save her. He was no longer that powerless and he would not allow the second great love in his life to pass before his eyes. She would live and she would be his.
A Time To Heal
In the dim light of this new day four lives were forever changed. A gift had been repaid and now it was time to rest and regather strength. The gathering would come, this time, from within their own clans. There had been no mistakes made and Elaine did what Camilla expected her to do with her gift but now there must be a purifying of their blood. Each must fast until the last of their mingled blood was gone and they would be fortified with new, pure blood from their own kinds.
This done, sleep was needed to reinvigorate their spent bodies. Any phone calls that came for Julian were never delivered, this at Camilla?s insistence. One or two days away from his work environment would not bring the entire business down on his head. He reluctantly agreed to her terms, knowing she was much older and much wiser, also feeling the need for sleep. It was sun up anyway so he finally yielded to her will.
There were three other inmates he was responsible for and these he would check on throughout the day until he was satisfied they were recovering as they should. Julian would never have guessed it but his most earnest desire was to stay with Lillie, not Daedalus. Of course Daedalus had Elaine and Camilla to look after him but Lillie had others to care for her as well. Each time he started to think of the way he had treated Lillie, his darling Lillie, he came very close to the hysteria he felt as she slowly began to be revived in his arms in the bleak hours of dawn.
Julian knew the time was coming when he would have to face Caitlin and they would go their separate ways and while he knew this would hurt Caitlin he wished to be done with it as soon as possible. The longer he waited the harder it would be. He would not change his mind for now he knew where his heart belonged but it would be easier to put it off in deference to Caitlin?s feelings. She was not a fragile creature but she was a sweet, loving woman who had given him her heart and now he must break it.
Why had he let himself fall in love with her? Others had warned him that he would have to give her up or Embrace her but he ran headlong into her arms and now she would pay dearly. Others had paid dearly as well. If Julian had not been involved with Caitlin maybe Archon would still be alive. This was one of the most tragic results of his love affair with her. He left the city to go to Manzanita for a weekend with her and while he was gone Archon was killed. Archon had even tried to talk him out of going and he would not listen. Some said Julian was a good Prince. Now, thinking back on these things, he had his doubts.
It was dusk and feeling satisfied that all were well enough for him to take his leave, Julian looked in on Lillie and found her sitting, propped up against overstuffed feather pillows. She looked so lovely and when he came to her he fell into her waiting arms and smothered her neck with grateful kisses. He murmured in her ear that he was going to end his relationship with Caitlin tonight and would never look back. He would never abandon Lillie again but he had to do the right thing and the sooner the better.
Lillie gazed up at him with weariness in her face and said he did not have to do this for her. Now their friend would live, that was the reason they went through this together. There was no way Caitlin could share in that but it was no reason to end their relationship.
"I understand you had to send her away yesterday and I?m sure this was a painful thing for you to do Julian but I don?t expect it of you. If you still love her then go to her. I have ceased to try and stop you."
"I am not going to break up with her because of what we have gone through together." Julian knew Lillie had stopped trying to win him back and he knew her heart was wearing a scar from the cavalier way he cast it off like it meant so little to him. He had no idea how dear it was to him until it nearly stopped for the last time and he held it in his hands. "Darling Lillie, I am going to break up with Caitlin because I know now where my heart belongs. I allowed my heart this dalliance when it ought to have been faithful to you. You have said it over and over Lillie. You are the one who has been at my side, accepting me, helping me, loving me. No other could come close to your loyalty and I have repaid you by . . ." Julian sighed. The words were labored and they cut him like a knife to say these things to Lillie because they were true and his voice became raspy again due to the pain he felt in his chest for the wrongs he had done to her. Feeling like his heart was in his throat he started again, "I have repaid you by breaking your heart." At last he had gotten the words out and one quiet sob escaped him as she held him and stroked him.
"It is atoned Julian. Please don?t torture yourself anymore." Lillie sought to comfort this man she had given her heart to and would always love more than any other. Looking for a way to shake him loose from the state he was in she asked, "Julian, I am becoming stronger now and if you will assist me, I would like very much to look in on Elaine and Daedalus. I am sure she has worried about me too and I only want her to see I am fine. Will you please help me?"
How could he deny her? Again he saw the sacrifice in her actions and quietly, in his heart, he praised her for her dignity and grace. Lillie thought more of her Childe and Daedalus than of herself and only asked this of him. He would have done so much more for her but she only asked for his help in this.
Elaine?s heart was strong and in the hours after Daedalus finally began to recover from his great seizures and unconscious fits she had much time to think about the events in the last 24 hours. Having time to rest and feed now she allowed others to tend to her husband with a watchful eye.
Many strange things had happened to her in the last year and this was strangest of all. Camilla had repaid the gift Daedalus had given Julian when he faced Goth and while he did not lose his life, he and Lily had come very close. Camilla had said events had to be set and people had to be in place. It took some time, but in between sleep and waking, Elaine started to understand what she meant.
Julian had looked in on them a couple of times throughout the day and it was comforting to have him there when he might have otherwise been at the office. Both times Daedalus was awake but very week yet they spoke to each other and Daedalus, with Elaine?s help, expressed their heartfelt appreciation for saving Lillie?s life.
Now they came together to check in on Daedalus and Elaine and found both sitting up and talking quietly and looking somewhat revived. Daedalus, about to stand as they entered, felt the gentle hand of his mate on his shoulder, reminding him that he was still recuperating. He reached for her hand and patted it in a gesture that told her he would not over extend himself this one time.
Julian and Lillie had made their way much the same way Daedalus and Elaine had on their wedding night and now descending the stairs he still held her in his arms. He released her when they reached the floor and the two women fell into each other?s embrace. It was good to hold each other and know for sure each was all right.
Elaine kissed Julian?s hand and as always would happen with Daedalus, it moved him so that he could not speak for a moment.
"Julian, Daedalus told you today how grateful we are that you were the one to save Lillie, but now I wish to tell you myself that if you had not it would have made such a void in my life that I could not have gone on. I have found that I can not live without her any more than I can live without Daedalus. She saved his life and you saved hers."
If kissing his hand moved Julian, her expressions now moved him more. "Elaine, your Sire gave her greatest gift today and almost lost her life doing so." His voice became quiet and soft as he bared his heart to her, expressing grief at the way he had treated Lillie and promising that from this day forward he would be devoted to her because he finally learned that losing Lillie was more painful than anything he had ever been through.
He turned to Daedalus and knew that it was the gift from Camilla that had brought about this revelation and without the terrible experience his friend had been through he would still be doing a dishonorable thing. He would still be seeing Caitlin and hurting Lillie when she had been at his side, supporting him and loving him. He told them he was going to break it off with Caitlin tonight after he brought Lillie to see that Daedalus and Elaine were all right.
"Do you have to go tonight Julian?" Daedalus asked, hoping he would stay and wait until tomorrow.
"It will be better if I take care of it immediately. If she is not going to be a part of my life I need to deal with it right away. Lillie, would you like to stay here until I return? I?m sure you and Elaine have much to talk about." Julian said this knowing it would satisfy them for the moment.
"It would please me very much to be with my family now. Thank you for bringing me to them." Lillie was able to stand and gave Julian her hand and kissed him lightly as he took his leave.
A New Life
Returning to the mansion in the wee hours Julian quietly peeked in to see Lillie asleep and looking beautiful as the moonlight shone on her through the lace curtains that shrouded her windows. The sun would not be coming up for a few hours yet but he stole into her room and closed the drapes so the servants carrying out their duties would not awaken her.
Julian would wait until later to pay a visit to Daedalus and Elaine but they were not far from his thoughts. He knew the objective in Camilla?s plan was to bring him to his senses in spite of the fact that it cost Lillie, Daedalus and Elaine dearly. Somehow he was not angry with her, in fact, he was grateful and he would show her soon.
The business with Caitlin was over and though it had taken it?s toll on them she finally said she had been ready to end their relationship because she could not live this way anymore. He shut her out of his personal life and after being with each other for at least a year she still knew next to nothing about him. She had tried to accept this but she needed more and if he would not or could not let her in, then it was time to end it. It was not real love. Julian went to her ready to end the relationship himself but found Caitlin was on the offensive and just let her rant until she was finished.
Caitlin laid it all out before him and pointed out things he could not deny. He was still so much closer to Lillie than he was to her and yet they both had told her they were not lovers any more. This didn?t add up and she doubted she would get an honest answer from him so she would not even ask. If Julian could live in the same home with Lillie and yet come to her bed, it was not right and she felt like an outsider. He had been shutting her out lately and she was beginning to feel as though he was breaking away from her anyway so she was ending it all tonight. Then she handed him a letter she had prepared before he had even called her asking to meet with her. The letter was her resignation. This he really didn?t want because he was considering selling the paper but her mind was made up and he would just have to accept it.
Julian said he would give her the best recommendation but Caitlin said she would rather let her work speak for her and he needn?t bother.
He had really expected a rain of tears from her but found she was more resolute than hurt. He was sure she was hurt but tonight she was not going to show it. That would wait until he had left. There was nothing else for him to do but accept this from her and leave. He had done the right thing and in time they would both heal and go on to a new life.
Now it was time to return to his and start it anew with the vow burned into his heart that he made to Lily as he held her at dawn the day before.
When Lillie woke up, she saw Julian sitting in her overstuffed chair. He had fallen asleep there after closing her drapes. He only planned to sit there for a few minutes while he reviewed the events that took place at Caitlin?s house. It was not pleasant but it was over and he was now ready to start over with Lillie, if she would have him.
Lillie rose, feeling much stronger and surprisingly full of life. She went to Julian and lightly kissed his cheek bringing him around. A smile immediately came over his lips as he gathered her into his arms and she gratefully found herself on his lap being told how much she meant to him and how beautiful she was and all that was in his heart this morning. For the first time in ages they both wished they could go out in the broad daylight and pronounce their love for each other to the world. Instead, they changed and made a call on Daedalus and Elaine.
Entering the sanctuary below Julian and Lillie found them in much the same condition they themselves were. Happy to be alive and ready to go on and face the new day.
Wanting to know what happened last night with Caitlin but not wanting to pry they hedged a little saying they had asked Lillie to stay in their home last night but she was determined to sleep in her bed so one of the servants assisted her home.
"We hope you slept well last night Lillie. You look as though you have recovered nicely. You look wonderful this morning. How did you sleep Julian?" Daedalus wasn?t going to let it go by. He wanted it out in the open right away since Julian was not willing to wait until today to visit Caitlin.
"I came home in the early hours while it was still dark and found Lillie asleep in her own room. The moonlight was shining in on her and she looked like a vision. I closed the drapes so the servants wouldn?t wake her up coming in to close them and then I sat in her overstuffed chair just for a few minutes to think over what I had done last night and I must have fallen asleep because I was still there when Lillie woke me up today."
Julian looked at them and saw they were expecting to hear more. It was natural they would want to know because of their feeling for Lillie and he did intend to tell them so he put up his hand and said he would explain all but first he wanted to know that they were both well and suffered no more ill effects from Camilla?s blood.
"Julian, we are both fine now. Elaine is under the impression that she needs to hover about me and-" he reached for her hand and squeezed it gently, "and I could not be in better hands. A good wife is irreplaceable and I am grateful to Camilla for restoring our family to its natural order. Yes we want to know about your meeting with the human woman but more than that, we want to know what you will do about Lillie." Daedalus was honest and forthright. He had suffered much for the question he was asking and it was a little thing for Julian to answer.
"You are exactly right to ask. Last night I went to Caitlin to break up with her and she was prepared to end our relationship before I arrived. This made it a little less difficult for me. She even handed me her resignation from the paper but I plan to sell it so she need not quit. I will find someone else to stand in for me on the job until it is sold. I should never have bought it in the first place and Lillie warned me I would get too close to Caitlin. She knew what I was up to and called me on it, just like you did a moment ago."
Daedalus looked surprised but Julian said he knew what was in Daedalus? heart and there was no need hide it. His friend was an honorable man and Julian had learned some hard lessons from him.
"So, you are not going to see Caitlin Byrne again?" asked an anxious Elaine.
No. From now on I am concentrating on forging a new relationship with your Sire." He said as he kissed Elaine softly on the forehead. He then took Lily?s hand and said it was like dating all over again. He felt like a young man seeking the love of the prettiest girl in school. This brought a broad smile from Lillie and leaving Elaine and Daedalus, they walked back to the mansion hand in hand. Just like it would have been if they were teenagers.
Love Will Find A Way
The great illness had passed and in the days and nights that followed Elaine and Daedalus gradually found their way of expressing their devotion and love for one another without the intense, hair raising passion that had brought them to the threshold of death and finally back to life again. The passion in their hearts was still there but the danger might still be there as well and even though Camilla had assured them they were safe, they moved slowly and with great care. They had millenniums to experiment and find new ways to give each other pleasure so there was no need to hurry it.
Elaine tried not to hover about Daedalus and took such pains to release her fear that he would have a relapse or would suffer other effects from his delirium but in time she saw that he was himself again though stronger than before.
This brought Elaine great relief and inspired her to return to her singing at the club. As always, her husband was at her side but he was no longer concerned for her welfare. She had proved that she was formidable and could protect herself, possibly better than he could. His respect for her was immense and now he only accompanied her because it brought him such pleasure to hear her fill the Haven with her songs.
When time came to leave it would be late and Daedalus always found his way to the back of the stage area to escort her to her dressing room and prepare to leave. It was fun for Elaine because Daedalus wore his disguise and he really did look handsome. In fact one time a couple of women saw him, and not knowing he was Kindred, one made a pass at him. He was clearly not prepared for this and it amused her knowing he was for the first time in a long time not sure what to do with himself.
Elaine had found real confidence since becoming Toreador and if a man showed her some attention she knew how to handle him. But her "other world" husband had been out of the public for so many years that it was a new experience for him. Daedalus looked at Elaine to help him out.
"A fine thing! I am out here night after night singing my heart out and when my back is turned women are throwing themselves at you."
He looked at her shocked but before he could say anything, a broad, teasing smile crossed her lips and she threw her arms around his neck and said, "sorry ladies, he?s all mine. You?ll have to keep looking."
Daedalus was dumbfounded but to back up her claim to the ladies he put his arms around his wife and kissed her passionately. He had never made a passionate display of his affections for her in public before but it seemed appropriate that night and as the ladies excused themselves the husband and wife ducked out of the club, secretly laughing at their daring moment back stage. Two Kindred openly and in public sharing their passion for each other and it thrilled them knowing they had pressed the limits of their secret life and no one who had seen them had a clue about the kind of life they led.
In the months to come both couples spent their time reinventing themselves and found new excitement in learning a better way to live. Julian and Lillie took much joy in finding romantic new ways to express their love and if they seemed like they were in the bloom of youth it was because their hearts were young again.
Daedalus and Elaine went to great depths to leave their Prince and her Sire alone to find their way back to each other. With the time they needed for themselves the new couple finally set to making a real home for their family. A family that had grown and become happier thanks to a selfless, sympathetic and loving Camilla.
Her magic opened up new experiences for the four of them and they would not forget her sacrifice the night Goth and she parted for eternity. More than that, they would include her in their lives and make her part of their family. She had lived a solitary existence for too long and now she became an important presence in their homes. Camilla thankfully accepted their love and brought with her wisdom that would help them through difficult times as well as share in their joys. In a selfish world where lovers seek their own pleasures, these two couples opened up their hearts to include one more and in doing so they were rewarded as they learned that love did indeed find a way.