The ardeur had opened me to him, and he was finally able to shove himself in and out of me, not fighting my body now but sliding in and out. He came to the end of me before his thrust was finished, but there was no more of me, nowhere else for him to go. He raised up on his arms for a moment so I could gaze down my body at the meat of him going inside me, over and over and over, and the orgasm was almost, almost, almost. I could feel his body changing rhythm, feel that he was close. The ardeur couldn't feed off of Micah until he orgasmed. He was too dominant, too controlled; only orgasm let his shields down enough to be food for me.
He cried out above me, his hips doing one last thrust that brought me screaming off the bed, bowing my back, closing my eyes. I screamed for him a long time after he had finished, and he lay on top of me, trying to relearn how to breathe. I screamed and writhed underneath him, still caught in the aftershocks of what we'd done.
When he could move, he pulled out of me, and that made me writhe again, but almost as soon as he was out the ache began. That the endorphins had begun to fade that fast meant I'd be sore later. But it was the kind of sore I didn't mind. The kind of sore that would be like a keepsake, that I could take out and look at and remember what we'd done. I'd remember the pleasure of it with every ache between my legs.
Micah lay oddly, half on his stomach, half on his side. The arm that was toward me was bleeding. He'd have his own aches and pains to remember this by. He moved, propping himself up on his elbows, and I saw his back.
I gasped and said, "Jesus, Micah, I'm sorry."
He winced. "The nails don't usually hurt this soon after great sex."
I nodded. "When the endorphins go quick, you know you're hurt." His back looked like he'd been attacked by something with more claws than I had.
"Are you hurting?" he asked.
"A little ache."
He gave me serious eyes. "When I drew out, there was blood. Not much, but some."
"We've had color before," I said.
"Yeah, but that's usually near your period. This isn't." His face was serious again. That shadow of old memories, old girlfriends in his eyes.
"How does your back feel?" I asked.
He grinned for me. "It hurts."
"Do you regret it?"
He shook his head. "God, no, it was a-fucking-mazing."
"Ask me how I feel," I said.
"Did I hurt you?"
"I ache already, which means a little." I touched his face before he could look away. "Now ask me if I regret it."
He gave me that sad, mixed smile of his. "Do you regret it?"
"God, no," I said. "You were a-fucking-mazing."
He smiled then, and it was a real smile. I watched the ghosts fade from his eyes until there was nothing but warm pleasure left.
"I love you," he said. "I love you so much."
"And I love you."
He looked down at the bedspread, which was a little worse for wear. "I better get up off this before we get more blood on it." He got to his feet, steadying himself on the edge of the bed as if his legs weren't quite working yet. I couldn't have walked if a fire alarm had gone off, so I sympathized.
There were spots of blood here and there, almost outlining the upper part of his body. There was also a spot of crimson where his lower body had been pressed to the bedspread. White had been a bad choice for it. I pushed myself up enough to look down at my own body. There was blood between my legs and a little on the bedspread below my body. "Think the maid will call the cops?" I asked.
He started a shaky walk toward the door. I think he was headed for the bathroom. "Not if we tip her enough." He caught the door as if he'd have fallen without it.
"Careful," I said.
He leaned against the door for a moment, then looked at me. "You make everything all right for me, Anita. You make me feel like a human being instead of a monster."
"And you love all of me, Micah, every last hard-boiled, ruthless bit of me. You make it okay that sometimes I am the monster. You know what I do, and you still love me."
"You're not a monster, Anita"--he grinned at me--"but you are ruthless. But then I like that in a girl." He went toward the bathroom still a little shaky but moving better. I settled back on the bed and waited for my knees and thighs to work enough to walk. I might as well get comfortable; it was going to be a while before I could move.
Philly was a pretty city, what little I'd seen of it. The visit so far had consisted of the airport and the hotel room and some amazing sex. We could have been anywhere. The cemetery reminded me that the city was in one of the thirteen original colonies. It was old, that cemetery. It breathed its age and the age of its dead. Breathed it along my skin the moment we stepped out of Fox's car. Once, a cemetery this old would have been peaceful for me. Too old to have ghosts, maybe a few shivery spots if you walked directly over a grave, but mostly the dead here would be inert, earth to earth, dust to dust, and all that. But now the dead called to me, even through my shielding.
Theoretically, no one could raise the long dead without a human sacrifice. I probably held the record for oldest without one, but even two-hundred-plus years dead should have been beyond me. So why, lately, did the long dead whisper power across my skin?
I shivered, but it wasn't from the early November cold. In fact, I was too warm in the leather jacket. Micah was suddenly at my side. He helped me slip the jacket off, whispering, "Are you all right?"
I nodded. I was all right, better than all right. Standing there in the power-kissed darkness was intoxicating. It was as if my skin were drinking magic from the very air. Which, with necromancy, wasn't possible.
Micah asked Fox if we could put the jacket back in the car. I didn't wait to hear what Fox said; I was already walking out into the dark. I absently trailed my fingers along the weathered tops of the tombstones as I walked between them.
Old cemeteries are crowded things. The ground was smooth and rough, but there was no longer much to differentiate ground from grave, so that I walked one step on the ground, then on the second step walked over a grave. You know the old saying Someone walked over my grave? This was like the reverse of that. I didn't feel bad, or shaky, or scared. With every grave I walked over, I felt better, steadier, more confident. I took a little energy from every body I passed over, no matter how old. I could have drunk in the power of the dead underneath me and done... Done what?
The thought stopped me literally in my tracks. What I hadn't realized was that Franklin was following me, close. I hadn't even known he was there.
He ran into me, or nearly. He had to grab my arms to keep from smacking into the back of me. It startled both of us. He apologized before I'd finished turning around.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know you were... stopping." He sounded breathless and way more upset than he should have been.
I was left staring up at him, wondering why he was nervous. Then I saw what he was doing with his hands. He was running them up and down the sleeves of his trench coat, as if he'd touched something and was trying to wipe it off. He wasn't being insulting. I doubt he even realized he was doing it. I might have done the same thing if I'd touched someone else's magic unexpectedly. It was like walking through metaphysical cobwebs; you had to brush it off. He had felt at least some of the power I was getting off the graves.
I might have asked Franklin why he'd been hiding that he was psychic, but Fox and Micah came up to us, and somehow I didn't think Franklin would want me being that insightful in front of them. Had he told the FBI that he was talented? I was betting not. It had been a plus in only the last two, three years tops. Before that they looked at it as a psychological disorder. You didn't get to be a federal agent with a psychological disorder.
It did explain why he had a serious dislike of me. If he was hiding what he was, he wouldn't want to be around someone who complemented his talents, whatever they might be. No, if you were hiding, you didn't want to be around people who were out of the broom closet, as it were.
"Is there a problem?" Fox asked.
Franklin said, "No, no problem," a little too fast.
I just shook my head, still looking up at the taller man.
I don't think Fox believed us, but he let it go. We weren't talking, so he was out of options. He gave us both a look, then said, "Then if there's no problem, everyone is waiting for us."