It was only then that he drove himself against me hard enough that it was almost pain. Hard enough that I felt his body convulse against me through the leather of his pants. His hands were on the back of the seat, holding us in place, but his neck was bowed, his eyes closed, and his body pinning me to the seat as if he would press himself through the leather and find himself inside me. His body convulsed a second time, and he crushed me against the seat, and the cry I gave him was part pleasure and part pain.
It was only then that the ardeur truly fed. It had gotten small bits, but not what it needed, not what I needed. Requiem had been controlling himself with an iron will, and that iron will had kept me out of something that I needed. Only with his release had all his walls come tumbling down, and the ardeur had roared into that breach, and fed.
His body collapsed down the seat, so that he was resting on his legs, still on his knees, still with my legs wrapped around him, but no longer pushing us against the seat. His shoulders slumped, and he pressed his face against the top of my head, one hand on the back of the seat, and the other around my waist.
I could hear his heart racing, feel his pulse against the side of my face, where his neck lay, warm and close above me. If I'd taken blood from him it would have left him colder, but the ardeur wasn't blood, and it didn't mind sharing its warmth with those who fed it well.
I felt Damian like a warm wind inside my head. He blew me a kiss. "Thank you, Anita, thank you." Then he pulled away, and there was someone touching his arm, taking his hand. He let them lead him onto the dance floor, and I was alone inside my head with Requiem still holding me.
"Oh, God," it was Graham, still kneeling in the open door of the Jeep. "Why wouldn't you share, Requiem, why wouldn't you share?"
Requiem turned his head, slowly, as if even that small movement were an effort. "She is not mine to share."
Graham laid his head on his arms on the seat, almost as if he would weep.
I spoke staring at Requiem's chest, where the lovely green shirt had been ripped away, and there was a glint of scarlet from my nails. The sleeve on his right arm was ripped away too, and there were more marks there. I said the only thing I could think of, "Did I hurt you?"
That made him laugh, and then wince as if the laughter hurt. "I think, m'lady, I should be asking that of you." He eased me off his body, and himself to the floorboard, so that I was sitting on the seat, and he was kneeling in front of me. It was almost exactly how we started.
He moved down, until he was sitting flat in the floor, with his back against the opposite door from where Graham was still kneeling. "Did I hurt you?" he asked.
"Not yet," I said, but even as I said it the endorphins began to fade, and the first ache began. It was suddenly harder to find a comfortable place to sit on the seats.
"I have hurt you," he said, "and I am a clumsy fool."
I eased until I was sitting more on one hip. "Fool, I don't know you well enough to answer, but clumsy, that I know is a lie. You may be a lot of things, but clumsy isn't one of them."
"You compliment me, even as I see your discomfort."
"Why didn't you just take off the pants and f**k her?" Graham asked. His face looked more in pain than either of ours.
"I told her to let down her shields, and she did it. She trusted me, but she did not understand what my power can do."
"You told me that it was lust," I said, and my voice still sounded lazier than normal, almost sleepy.
"Yes, but it is not seduction as Jean-Claude and Asher can do. It is simply lust."
"It was like hours of really good foreplay all at once. It felt wonderful."
"But it is purely physiological, purely of the body. My gift does not touch the mind, only the flesh."
"What's wrong with that?" Graham asked.
"If a woman's body reacts to my power, but her mind does not, I see it as little better than rape, and I have never been interested in such things." He sighed. "Anita did not want to have intercourse with me, she made that clear. She'd offered me blood once tonight, but she needed to keep the rest for herself. I was hoping to be able to stop sooner, but you kept demanding more. The ardeur did not quiet as I had hoped."
"I could feel it," Graham said, "it was amazing, like what you did to me earlier, but more. It felt like if I could have just touched you, it would have been more."
Requiem said, "More, yes, it would be more."
"What could be more than orgasm?"
He looked at me, and I looked at him, and neither of us looked at Graham.
"I knew it," Graham said, "I f**king knew it."
"I obeyed Anita's wishes. We did not have intercourse, we saved her vampire servant, and the ardeur has been fed."
I looked at him as he sat on the floorboard. He still looked elegant, but sort of dissipated, like an elegant rake. If he'd unfastened those leather pants and made it intercourse, I wouldn't have said no, because truthfully, I'd thought that was all that would save Damian. Or maybe I was just too American, and only intercourse meant sex. Maybe. But whatever the reasoning, Requiem had behaved himself in circumstances where most men wouldn't have. He got a lot of brownie points for that. If I'd had a gold star, I would have pinned it on him.
I did the next best thing. I kissed him on the cheek and said, "Thank you."
Graham double-parked in front of Guilty Pleasures and said he'd valet the car for me. I let him do it, which said just how well I was feeling. I was better, but I'd shoved a lot of the last feeding into Damian, and apparently, not kept enough for myself. The learning curve on the new version of the ardeur was going to take some getting used to.
Requiem offered me his hand to help me out of the Jeep, and I took it. I was stiff and more than a little sore, and since he'd helped get me that way, it seemed fair he help me out of the Jeep. Besides, I couldn't just flounce out of the Jeep like normal. I had no underwear on, and one of my great goals in life was not to flash anyone tonight by accident.
Clay, the new blond werewolf, was at the door. A trio of women were chatting him up. A man in coat and hat slipped past his back and into the club. Clay didn't seem to notice. He was far too busy staring at the redhead's chest.
He noticed us in time to suddenly usher the women into the club, before we got there. He stood, one hand on the opposite wrist, as if he'd been doing it all night. But everything about him screamed kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Requiem had a little trouble with the steps leading up to the door, too, which let me know that vampire or not, he might have a few rubby spots of his own. When we were at the top, even with Clay, I stopped long enough to say, "All those women better be of age, Clay."
He looked surprised, either at the thought of it, or that I'd seen him. "They're over twenty-one."
"You see ID?"
He looked perplexed. "Well, Maria said that her friend had left her ID at home. I know Maria."
I shook my head. "You better hope someone catches her friend inside." I let Requiem lead me past the puzzled werewolf.
It was 1:00 in the morning, but when Requiem opened the door, the sound of many people in a small space, having a very good time, spilled out around us. It was hot inside the doors, and it wasn't caused by the heating system, it was just that many bodies in a small space. I couldn't see if Nathaniel was on stage yet, because my view was blocked by a curtain of black-shirted security.
Buzz was talking to the three women. "If she doesn't have ID, she doesn't get in."
"But Clay told us it would be alright," the redhead said, and I assumed it was Maria.
"Maria," Buzz said, "you know the rules. No exceptions, not even for regulars."
The man who'd come in just ahead of us was facing two of the largest security guards I'd seen. One was as blond as Clay, and the other was very, very brunette, as in African American brunette. They were both over six feet, with a shoulder spread that was nearly as wide as I was tall. They made Buzz look small, and I wondered where they'd been when Primo was beating everyone's ass.
The brunette said, "You are not allowed in here."
"I have a right to see my own son," the man said.
"I told you, Marlowe is not dancing tonight. He called in sick."
Marlowe was Gregory's stage name, and he only had one biological unit that called itself his father. The man who'd sexually abused them as children, pimped them out to other pedophiles, and even put them in films. I knew he was in town, but we had a restraining order against him. Alright, Gregory and Stephen did.