His voice was strangely controlled, as if he were concentrating very hard on what he was doing. "You can go more than once, I may not be able to."
I touched his face, held it light between my hands. "When I go, you go, no more near misses."
His eyes smiled down at me. "Agreed."
And suddenly there was no time for words, no time for debate. The orgasm tightened my body, then spread outward, blowing through my body, my skin. I rode that wave after wave of pleasure. His eyes went wide, as if they were surprised, and his breathing quickened, his body hesitated, paused almost, then he thrust himself deep inside me, and if I hadn't held his face he'd have thrown his head back, but I wanted to watch his eyes. They were almost frantic. His body spasmed again, and this time the orgasm caught me unprepared and my hands lost his face, my eyes rolled back into my head, and I screamed.
He collapsed on top of me and thrust as hard and sudden as he could. I shrieked under him and clawed at his back. His skin gave under my nails. He writhed on top of me. Writhing with his body still thrust deep inside mine, caused my nails to dig deeper, and I set my teeth in his shoulder, screaming into his skin. Making a gag of his flesh between my teeth.
Nathaniel's body liked the pain. It was as if, as long as I hurt him he wasn't done. The more that my nails and teeth dug into him, the more his h*ps pumped into me. It was like we were caught in an endless loop of pain and pleasure, and the line from one to the other blurred.
His breathing changed again, and when his body threw itself backward, in orgasm, I still had my teeth in his shoulder. He tore himself out of my mouth. I released him in time to not take a bite out of him or lose a tooth, but not in time to keep from drawing blood. I was suddenly drowning in the taste of his blood. Sweet and salty and metallic, and underneath that, something else, something more. I'd bitten his neck only hours before, and I had not been as aware then of the taste of his blood. It was like the difference between gulping water because you were thirsty and sipping wine to enjoy the bouquet. I let Nathaniel's blood rest on my tongue, licked it against the roof of my mouth, played with the taste, the texture, the warmth of it.
I let it slide down my throat. I made it last, as if it were the last sip of liquid I would ever have. I'd craved blood before, but as with the beast, I'd thought that one part was all of it. In that one sweet taste I knew better. I'd tasted blood before, but I'd never enjoyed it or known that it could taste like this.
Power trailed over Nathaniel's skin, and trapped under his body, that power marched over me in a skin-tingling, breath-stealing rush. It made me shiver, and my beast stirred, like something furred and half-asleep, disturbed from its nap.
Nathaniel bowed down toward me again, his eyes were pale gray with a hint of almost blue. I stared into his leopard's eyes and felt his beast stretch inside his body, like it was rubbing against the bones of its cage.
My beast stretched inside my body, I'd had the sensation before, but I'd never been able to feel it as if my body were somehow hollow and this long shape stretched the length of me. It made me shiver, and it was hard to breathe for a moment, as if something truly was inside me and had reached up high enough to compromise my lungs. The pressure lasted for a moment, then it was gone, but I hadn't liked the sensation of it.
"You smell of blood," Nathaniel said, and there was an edge of growl to his voice.
"It's your blood," I whispered, and my heart was already beating faster.
"But it's in your mouth," he growled, just above my lips. His mouth was suddenly on mine, his tongue pushing between my lips. He kissed me, hard and long and deep, pushing his tongue so far into my mouth that it was almost like deep-throating. But his tongue was neither as long or wide as he was. But this had teeth that almost cut at my lips, a bruising force, that no amount of o**l s*x could equal. His tongue licked along the roof of my mouth, the inside of my cheeks. He was licking the taste of his own blood from my mouth.
The leopard screamed through my brain, he's eating us! I knew better, but something moved inside me, in places that nothing was supposed to move. I felt it, not like some liquid amorphous shape, but as if something very solid and very real was sitting in the center of my body and moving around. It stirred, and this time I felt something like a hand stretch upward, and something else stretch down. It hurt, and I was suddenly choking on Nathaniel's kiss.
He drew back, and the smile on his face was fierce and joyous, a savage beauty, as if the thoughts behind his face weren't very human anymore. "You taste good," he said, and his voice was painfully low. It didn't sound like Nathaniel's voice at all.
The leopard didn't react to that growl, it was gone from my head. But that thing in the center of my body stretched, stretched legs and arms inside my body. I could feel it touching things that should never have been touched. I screamed and stared up into his eyes and wondered if there was enough of Nathaniel in there to help me.
"Anita, what's wrong?" With leopard eyes and a voice of a stranger, but his face was all Nathaniel, all concern and worry.
"What? Did I hurt you?"
I shook my head, and claws tickled along my ribs, and made me struggle underneath his body. "Help me!"
He rolled off of me and yelled, "Jason!" He had to yell twice, before Jason came out, dripping from the shower, a towel in his hand. He looked at us, and the smile was gone instantly.
"I don't know," Nathaniel said, still in that low voice, "she says something hurts."
The thing stretched again, stretched and stretched and my body stretched with it, as if it fit inside my arms and legs. It didn't hurt, exactly. It was as if my body were a glove and it was seeing how much room it had.
"Did you feel that?" Jason asked. His body had broken out in goosebumps.
Nathaniel nodded. "It's her beast."
Jason knelt by the end of the bed. "Yeah, but it's never felt like this before."
My beast stretched to the limits of my body, then found that there was nowhere else to go. I'd gotten a tiny piece of Richard's beast years ago, and somehow Belle's line had given me an animal to call--the leopards. Through that I was Nimir-Ra to Micah's Nimir-Raj. Nathaniel had been my pomme de sang, but now he was my animal to call, as Richard was to Jean-Claude. Now that part of me that was beast, cat, stretched inside my human body. I'd felt it as power before, more metaphor than physical, but this was very, very physical. I could feel it. Feel it struggling inside me, looking for a way out. It was as if I was a lycanthrope, except I lacked that last bit of the puzzle, that one last bit that would allow the beast to slip out of my skin and be real.
It shrank back into that small center of my body, where it stayed most of the time. But now it was like one of those leopards at the zoo in a small metal cage. It paced, paced, paced, and finally rushed the bars, slashing and clawing. But these bars were my body, and I screamed. I reached out, trying to grab something, anything that would help me. How do you fight something that's inside your body? How do you destroy something that is in the very meat of you?
Jason grabbed my hand, and I was suddenly breathing in the sweet musk of wolf. But it was as if touching Jason's hand acted like a conduit, and suddenly I could see Richard. He was in the bright sunlight of his kitchen, cooking something in a pan. He wore nothing but jeans, with a dish towel stuck into the waistband of his pants. His back was covered in claw marks, or really serious nail marks. It looked more like the result of good sex than an attack. His head came up, and he sniffed the air, and only then did he turn and stare behind him, as if he could see me. He said, "Anita, is that you?"
"What's wrong now?"
I squeezed Jason's hand, and it was like that extra bit of contact took me closer to Richard. It was like I hovered just in front of him. He reached out, and his hand brushed through me.
My beast reacted to it, screaming and clawing, going wild. It didn't want the wolf inside us, there wasn't room for it. There certainly wasn't room for both.
Richard drew his hand back, and said, "Anita, Anita can you hear me?"
I screamed his name, because screaming was all I could do. It felt like the leopard was cutting me up, trying to dig its way out, and it couldn't get out.
"Give your beast to someone else, Anita. Someone whose body can let it out."
I didn't understand what he meant. I started to tell him so, but he seemed to feel my puzzlement. Because he shared a memory with me. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; a memory with complete sensory surround sound is worth so much more. Saves so much time, shares the pain faster.