DISCLAIMER: The Hollows and its characters/inhabitants are the property of Kim Harrison. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A Glass of Water
Water, water, water, it was my only thought as I forced myself out of my warm comfortable bed, down the hallway and towards the kitchen. My throat was so dry I half expected camel races to start up. I wanted nothing more than to remain curled up in bed, warm and pleasantly unconscious, but my body demanded that I take care of the situation immediately, and so I continued towards the kitchen.
As I walked my hand rubbed at my eyes tiredly. The motion was childish, and I was sure that if anyone was around to observe me, I would have looked like a very tall, very sleepy toddler, but I didn't care.
As I moved from the dark hallway into the dark kitchen, spots danced before my eyes from my rubbing. I blinked trying to clear my vision, and when I was finally able to make out basic shapes I was startled to find a tall figure standing directly in front of me.
I jerked to a stop abruptly and my arm automatically shot out, aiming a blow at the figure in front of me. My mind was still clouded with sleep, and the only thought I was consciously aware of was that I wished I had my purse with me. I didn't however, and so in the absence of that beautiful work of Italian leather and the magical defenses housed inside of it, I decided that my fists, elbows and knees would have to do.
My hand encountered nothing but air, but undeterred by that minor set back and struck out again. Once again I hit nothing but air. Try, try, and try again, was a motto of mine and I intended to do just that, however before I could make another attack, I felt a pair of hands grasp my upper arms. Somewhere in my mind I noted that the hands touching me were slim and delicate, and that the touch was light, but adrenalin had started to pump through me sending my 'fight response' into overdrive and I instinctively began to struggle until slim arms wrapped around me, effectively pinning my arms to my side.
"Rachel, it's me. It's Ivy."
Ivy's grey silk voice penetrated the haze covering my mind, the sound of it immediately helping to calm me down. I had become used to the sound of Ivy's voice and the familiarity of it comforted me. My mind began to clear. Ivy, I thought. Of course it was Ivy. I suddenly felt very foolish. The contract the I.S. had put out against me had been paid off over a week before. There were no more fairies and werefox's and demons after my head. Even Trent Kalamack wasn't a threat at the moment. I had no reason to be afraid, but I still was. In my head I knew I was safe (kinda), but my paranoia was very slow in leaving. I still saw threats and assassins everywhere I went, including my own kitchen.
Ivy was speaking again, and my eyes closed for a moment. I allowed the sound of her voice and her comforting words to wash over me. I could feel her chest moving against my back as she breathed and my heart beat continued to slow until it was beating in time with the steady pulsing of Ivy's.
When I opened my eyes again I was calm. Unfortunately, it only lasted for a moment.
Once the panic and fear left me, I became aware of the feel of Ivy's warm breath on my neck, and the deceptive strength of her light hold on me. She had bent her head down to whisper in my ear when I was struggling against her, and as a result her mouth was uncomfortably close to my neck. The hold she had me in did not hurt, but I knew that those thin arms could tighten around me at any second and that if they did, there was no way I would be able to break Ivy's hold on me.
My heart beat began to pick up speed once more. I tried to think of calming things; butterflies, meadows, the laughter of children, bacon, the sun warming my face on a summer's day, Nutella. But, despite my best efforts, the only thing my mind seemed to want to focus on was the feel of Ivy's breath on my skin. I remembered the feel of Ivy on top of me the first night we moved in together. I remembered her lips parted above my neck as she panted, warm breath and warm saliva bathing my skin as she whispered to me, trying to get me to calm down so that she would be able to calm down.
I had been so scared. I had thought that I was going to die that night, my blood soaking into the fabric of Ivy's expensive couch as my roommate's teeth tore my neck to threads.
The thought of Ivy's teeth on my neck made the memory of Ivy on top of me on her couch begin to shift. I knew what memory would come next, but I tried valiantly to stop it. It hadn't been Ivy. It hadn't been her fault. But the demon that attacked me had been wearing her face, and had spoken with her voice, and though it was unfair, I knew that for a long time I would associate the real Ivy with the imposter that had tried to kill me in the basement of the University library.
I remembered Ivy's grey silk voice whispering to me. I remembered the feel of long onyx hair brushing against my skin, and the ecstasy of fangs inside of me.
I gasped, my body shuddering in the circle of Ivy's arms as I flushed with arousal.
"Rachel," Ivy breathed out softly, a rush of warm air accompanying my name.
Her voice was worryingly seductive. It was warm and longing and it made me think of warm chocolate chip cookies.
"Rachel," Ivy moaned.
She pressed the side of her face against mine, nuzzling me in a way that would have been and adorable if kittens had been doing it, but that scared the ever loving shit out of me with Ivy using me as a scratching post.
"Rachel," her voice was pained this time, and her arms flexed around me before loosening again. She rubbed her cheek against mine again, and her breath seemed to burn me where the warm puffs landed on my skin. "You need to calm down."
I'd heard those words before.
I closed my eyes and tried to follow her advice. Even though I was scared, I knew that Ivy didn't want to hurt me and that I needed to meet her halfway. It was hard though. The moon was still high in the sky, and I knew that vampire pheromones were coating the kitchen creating an invisible fog of lust.
I was painfully aware of the feel of Ivy's body pressed against my back. She was only wearing a robe no doubt her favorite silk black one and the thin material allowed the warmth of her body to easily seep into me. I could feel her breasts pressed up against my back, and I was uncomfortably aware of the press of her hard nipples pressing against my skin.
Oh god, I can feel her nipples, I thought. My body shivered at the realization. The tangible, physical evidence of her desire cut to the quick of me and to my immense embarrassment and shame a shock of arousal coursed through me.
Ivy nuzzled my face again and moaned. I closed my eyes as the sound of her pleasure washed through me. With her pressed so closely I was sure that I could feel the reverberations of her moan traveling through my own body, and when her pelvis jerked against me I trembled and my heart began to beat more rapidly.
Oh, this is bad, this is bad, this is bad, I thought as I felt the wet scrap of Ivy's tongue against my jaw. She's losing it, I thought, a spike of fear hitting me. I was not wearing my perfume, my scent was getting all over her robe, my heart was thundering in my chest, and fear and arousal were rolling off of me in interchanging waves. It was no wonder Ivy was losing it. My body was calling out to her vampire instincts, I was practically crooking my finger at her and coquettishly whispering, "Come and get it, big girl," as I winked at her saucily.
Ivy's tongue played across the skin of my neck and I stilled in her arms. I trembled, desire and horror mixing headily within me.
I knew I had to get myself under control before Ivy lost hers.
I closed my eyes and willed my heart to slow and forced myself to ignore the tingling between my legs. I repeated, "You're straight, you're straight, you're straight," over and over again in my mind, and told myself that it did not feel good to have Ivy's body pressed against me so.
I concentrated on breathing in and out, in and out, in and out, just like that. I focused my mind entirely on breathing in and out until I didn't have to concentrate on it anymore, my breath naturally coming out in a slow, steady rhythm.
I gasped, suddenly finding myself suddenly alone. Immediately, I wrapped my arms around my body, hugging myself in an attempt to fight off the chill that ran through me in the absence of Ivy's arms.
I turned my head to the side and immediately began to look around of her, but it was too dark. I couldn't see a thing, and she wasn't making a sound. I wasn't even sure if she was still in the room.
I moved carefully towards the light switch and turned it on, blinking against the sudden light as I scanned the kitchen. Ivy wasn't there.
I stood still for a moment, unsure what to do. There was a part of me that wanted to begin searching the house for her. I hadn't heard the front or backdoor close so I was relatively certain that she was still inside of the church. If she had left me alone, I knew that it was a bad idea to follow her, but I wanted to. I wanted to talk to her to well, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to talk to her about just that I really wanted to look for her.
Fortunately, my brain seemed to finally be making an appearance (for the first time that night) and it was telling me to stay put. It was telling me to remember the dating guide, to remember that following her would be seen as pursuit, as consent, would be a turn on. My brain forced me to think, to realized that if the way Ivy was panting down my neck (and practically dry-humping me) in the kitchen was any indication of how much control she had that night, that I would be another tombstone in our yard if I tempted her anymore.
I turned towards the fridge and then moved over to it, opening it and taking out the jug of water inside.
I would stay put. Going after Ivy would be a bad idea, my body was just still keyed up from her touch and that was why I wanted to seek her out. I had to listen to my brain for once and not follow my instincts.
I pulled a cup from the cabinet beside and sink and poured myself a glass of water. I raised it to my cheek and sighed as the cool condensation from the glass chilled my feverish face. As I lay the glass there I tried desperately not to think about why I was feeling so hot. However, try as a might, I remembered the feel of Ivy's body against me, the feel of her nipples pressing into my back, the feel of her shifting against me in desire, and the sound of her breathy moans.
My thighs pressed together at the memory and my heart spasmed painfully in my chest.
I yanked the glass away from my cheek and brought it to my lips, taking deep draughts from it.
I told myself that I wasn't attracted to Ivy. It was the vampire pheromones Ivy had released into the room. That was all. I was not actually attracted to her. I was straight and being attracted to Ivy wasn't straight, so I couldn't be attracted to Ivy. She had been pulling an aura, I quickly decided. I couldn't see her face of course, but she did it all of the time without meaning to, and she had probably been pulling one then. The moon was still high in the sky, and she couldn't help going vampy like that sometimes. Straight or not, an aura was an aura and I would respond to it. I had responded to Ivy just now, so it had to be an aura. That was all. I was not attracted to Ivy. I was straight and therefore not at all attracted to Ivy.
I put the glass down on the counter and allowed my eyes to close, an image of Ivy in her mother's old sundress appearing in my mind the moment my eyelids had fluttered shut. She had looked so soft, so delicate; so unbelievably beautiful. I had gasped when I first laid eyes on her, and for a moment my breath had actually been taken away. She was magnificent. I remembered the pleased smile that came to her face as I gaped at her, and my thighs shifted and pressed together again as a throb of desire tore through me.
I dropped my head down onto the counter top and placed one of my arms over it, hiding myself like a turtle. I wrapped my other arm around my middle, hugging myself as I was forced to admit the truth. I was attracted to Ivy. I was alone in the kitchen. I couldn't blame what I was feeling at that moment on vampire pheromones or Ivy pulling at aura because Ivy wasn't there. It was just me, my thoughts, and my damp underwear.
Reluctantly I turned my head to the side to see Ivy hovering uncertainly in the doorway of the kitchen. She was wearing a different robe, and idly I wondered how long I had been standing bent over with my head on the counter.
"Are you okay?" she asked softly. Her brown eyes were shining with concern as she took in my hunched over position. As I watched her from underneath my arm, he swayed forward, as if she were going to take a step towards me, but then she stopped, her body going rigid as she held herself in position. "Did I hurt you?"
The words were so soft I almost couldn't hear them almost.
"No," I said immediately, the fear in Ivy's voice forcing me to concentrate on her instead of on my sexual confusion.
She didn't look convinced, and I wasn't sure why until I saw her eyes flicker down to my arm, which was still wrapped around my middle. I realized then that she was afraid that she had squeezed me too tightly while she was 'holding' me.
"Really, I'm fine," I said drawing my arm around myself. I even stretched momentarily to show her how easily the movements came to me. I was completely unscathed.
The tension in Ivy's shoulders eased and she leaned against the doorframe. If it wasn't for the pained expression on her face she would have seemed almost relaxed; a jungle cat at rest, warming itself idly in the warm afternoon sun.
"I " Ivy began her chest puffing up, giving her the appearance of a General ready to lead troops into battle. However, before she said another word her chest deflated and her eyes flickered away, her courage momentarily leaving her. "I'm sorry," she began again a few seconds later. Her eyes were on the floor, and she breathed in and out so deeply that I could see her chest rise and fall.
If it was possible for a vampire to have a hang dog expression their face, Ivy had one. Despite it being the middle of the night, she seemed almost human in her misery at that moment, and my heart swelled with affection for her. She looked like a great big toddler who had just gotten a finger wagged at them, and I wanted to walk over to her and cradle her in my arms. I didn't do that course, but for a moment I really, really wanted to.
"I know," I said, trying to ease her discomfort in a way that wouldn't put my jugular vein in peril. "So am I," I continued knowing that Ivy wasn't entirely responsible for had happened. "I tried to say calm but, I think I might be a bit high-strung," I went on, my lips curving up in a tiny smile as I glanced at her.
Ivy stared at me sullenly for a moment, but then her lips quirked up as well.
We shared a quiet, comfortable moment together then, but nothing gold can stay and after a few seconds Ivy looked away from me, her face going serious once more.
I had a good guess what she was thinking about. I knew my reaction to her this time had been different than on the couch, and I was certain that Ivy had noticed this as well. The first night on the couch I had been panicked and mind-numbingly scared. There had been a tinge of arousal, but it had been eclipsed by the terror coursing through me. This time had been different. Though I had been scared, it hadn't been the dominant emotion. I had been just as aware of my arousal as I had been of my fear, and I was terrified that Ivy would ask me about it. I had only just become aware of my attraction to her, and I needed more time to process it, to understand my own feelings before I was ready to discuss them with Ivy.
When I looked over at Ivy again, her eyes were on me and I breathed in deeply before steadily returning her gaze, trying to will her to let it be, to leave it alone at least for the moment. We were both on edge already and I didn't want to risk getting into a heated conversation with her. Despite my new found attraction, I was still wary of Ivy and more than a little afraid of her responses to me, and I didn't want to risk losing it around her twice in the span of an hour.
"It's late," Ivy said finally, her shoulders slumping as if in defeat. She looked sadder than Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.
I looked out the back window before nodding, and agreeing, "It is."
"I'll see you in the morning," she said her head turning to look down the hallway that lead to our rooms before she looked back over at me.
She was going to let it go, at least for the moment. She wanted to talk about what had happened, but she was putting it off for my benefit. I didn't know if my wishing had worked, or if she could smell anxiousness as well as arousal. Maybe living together had already started to get us more in tune with each other I knew that I understood her a lot better than I had when we first moved in together - but I was grateful for whatever it was that was making her hold off.
"I think you mean 'in the afternoon', given your sleeping habits," I responded, smiling at her a little bit, trying to smooth things over a little. I didn't want her be affronted or hurt my reticence to talk. One of the things I had learned about Ivy was that despite her badass demeanor she was actually quite sensitive, especially, it seemed, when it came to me.
She shrugged, and after a moment returned my tentative smile. "I won't deny it," she murmured. Her voice was like soft, warm butter and it traveled through me to settle at the apex of my thighs.
Ivy's back straightened, and I was sure that she was aware of the effect her voice had on body. I couldn't see her eyes, but I was certain that the warm comforting brown colour had been replaced my ever increasing bands of black, and I made myself take a deep breath in an effort to calm down and hoped that Ivy wouldn't say anything about it.
"Goodnight, Rachel," she said a few seconds later, her posture relaxing as she spoke.
"Goodnight, Ivy," I said softly, too softly I realized. There was a breathy quality to my voice that I knew had to be doing all sorts of wonderful things to her vampire instincts. "See you tomorrow," I added a second later, relief flooding through me when I noted that my voice was steady and firm.
Ivy held my gaze for a moment, her expression unreadable, and then she nodded and turned, her back facing me as she slowly and silently began to pad down the hallway.
A few moments later I heard the door of her room close, and I slumped against the kitchen counter. I tilted my head towards the doorway Ivy had been leaning against and stared at it for a moment, remembering the way her hips swayed as she walked away.
Her ass was staggeringly magnificent, and I was sure she could topple entire nations simply by pretending to drop a pencil and bending down to pick it up.
I breathed in deeply and shook my head. I didn't know how or why but there was no denying it. I was attracted it Ivy.
I sighed. That was great, just great. I had enough on my plate already, and I really didn't need a side dish of 'Questioning my Sexuality' (with Truffles). Not to mention my relationship with Ivy was already complicated as it was. Worrying about her trying to bite me in my sleep was bad enough. I really didn't want to have to worry about the fact that I would probably like it as well.
I tilted my head up towards the ceiling in bewilderment, closed my eyes, wondering how I got myself into these situations. Half an hour ago, I had been thirsty. Now I was trying to fight back waves of desire for my vampire roommate, whom I happened to be scared to death of half the time. It did not compute, and most of all it wasn't fair. All I had wanted was a glass of water.
I put my glass in the sink and moved towards the door of the kitchen, flipping the light off as I walked through the doorway. I headed towards my room with much less grace than Ivy. All I wanted to do was fall into bed and wrap myself up in my blanket. It was late, and I needed to get a good night's sleep. The next day, was likely going to prove to be an interesting (and awkward) one.
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