DISCLAIMER: The Hollows and its characters/inhabitants are the property of Kim Harrison. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Ivy pulled back from my neck and I felt the loss of her fangs inside of me acutely. I closed my eyes and struggled to catch my breath. My body was shaking faintly, and I had to bite down on my bottom lip to stop myself from making a sound of protest at the loss of her. My mind whirled, twisting and twirling making me feel like I had just stepped off of a merry-go-round and my body tingled. Daaaaaaamn, I thought deliriously. Daaaaaaamn.
"Did you ?" Ivy began to ask before trailing off. Her voice was so soft it would have made a whisper jealous, and I couldn't stop a small tremble from running through my body at the sound of it. Ivy's voice always did things to me, sometimes wonderful and other times not so wonderful. I wasn't sure what it would count as this time.
I turned my head to look at her, and I found that her inky black eyes were wide with surprise. There was another emotion, lurking around the edges of her gaze, but I couldn't identify what it was at the moment, and I wasn't entirely certain that I wanted to find out.
"I think so," I murmured looking away from her, the blush to end all blushes lighting up my cheeks as my heartbeat slowed and my mind began to clear.
Goddamn scar! I cursed in my head. Goddamn vamp pheromones! I said continuing my mental rant! Goddamn Ivy! I thought furiously, the tone of my mental voice fuelled more by embarrassment than actual anger.
"Yes," I admitted out loud a second later, knowing that she already knew the answer to her question and that to beat around the bush was pointless.
"Oh," Ivy said her tone curiously blank. I'd expected something else from her, and despite my mortification, I turned my head to look her again and found that she really was well and truly shocked. "I thought so that yeah," she added, meeting my gaze and blinking.
Her eyes flickered down to my neck, and I felt my scar tingle. She licked her lips as she stared at the small puncture marks on my neck, and I wished that she would lean down and sink her teeth into them again, but she didn't. With one last longing look at her handy work, she flopped down onto the mattress beside me, and then we were both staring at her ceiling.
"I'm sorry," I said pathetically, closing my eyes as I spoke knowing that I had made everything terribly awkward.
We'd just finally begun to really and truly settle into our blood balance. Ivy's fears that she would lose control and hurt me if we didn't have sex to temper her hunger had finally started to abate after over a month of sharing blood. It had taken me a long time to convince her that we didn't need to have sex in order to share love with other, but eventually she had given in her desire for a blood balance was as strong as mine and it had worked. Being close to each other, touching each other had been enough as I had hoped. Cupping the back of her neck, massaging her scalp, running my hand up and down her back gently, feeling my tenderness and love for her, helped her control herself. And though I was weary at first, I allowed her to trail her hands over me too. I had to shift her hands from drifting to sensitive areas the first few times, though I made sure to keep her hands pressed against me and my hands on her so that she didn't start to disassociate like she had the first time in Kisten's van.
The first few times had been a little awkward, but we had finally started to relax with each other, and the last few times she had fed from me it had been deeply satisfying for both of us on an emotional level as well as a physical one. In the calm that followed Ivy's sated hunger, we had been able to lay in each others arms for over an hour, just reveling in the feel of each other. After Ivy fed, when her hunger was sated and her heart was warmed by what we had just shared was the only time when we could relax in close proximity to each other, and I had enjoyed the quiet time so much. We both had. It was wonderful. It had been so wonderful and I had gone and made every thing awkward again.
"No!" Ivy declared, the low panic in her voice surprising me. "I mean its okay," she continued in a calmer tone of voice. I felt her shift a little and I knew that she had turned her head to face me. "You didn't mean to. I know that it was just you know, everything," she continued waving her hand vaguely, a look of deep pain settling across her features for a moment before she fought it off, and offered me a small smile. "It's okay," she whispered, but she sucked in a deep breath as she said it making it sound as if speaking the words was causing her physical pain, and I knew that it wasn't really okay. "I understand."
"Yeah, but still," I protested though I didn't know why. Ivy was giving me an easy way out. She wasn't questioning me, or psychoanalyzing my response. She was just letting it be. It was difficult for her, I could see that, but she was making an effort to let things go. She didn't want things to change anymore than I did. She had been happy, and more content than I had ever seen her this past month. We were doing well, and she didn't want to mess with it.
I should have been happy, and grateful accepted the gift she was handing me, but I had to go and open my big mouth. Why? I mean I wanted to just forget about it, didn't I? Didn't I?
"It happens," Ivy said, and though I didn't turn to face her, from her movements on the bed I was sure that she had shrugged.
"Does it?" I asked a tad too hopefully. It had never happened when we shared blood before. I mean, at times I had almost felt like I was going to, but I had never actually happened before. I had thought that my extreme sensitivity to being bitten was mostly a result of my scar, and the thought that my feelings were just a natural reaction to being bitten made me feel a little better about everything.
"Sometimes," Ivy said, her voice guarded.
I looked over at her at that, and sighed. She was lying on the mattress with her head on the pillows and her eyes scanning her ceiling, but she wasn't relaxed. Despite the blasé tone of her voice, her body was ram-rod straight, and her hands were compulsively balling into fists. She was tense, she was trying to hide it, but what had happened was making her anxious.
"When?" I asked, knowing that she was holding back something important. She wouldn't have been so tense if it was something that happened often, and I wondered if I done something to trigger the response.
Ivy was silent and still.
"Has anyone you've ever fed off of you know, without you like trying to make them?" I asked feeling my panic rise.
Ivy remained silent and still. That was never a good sign. I preferred to see her anger and frustration to this, nothing. The nothingness was bad, the nothingness meant that whatever she was feeling was so powerful and overwhelming that she couldn't afford to let anything show through for fear that all of her feelings would then be loosed.
I slumped back against the mattress realizing that she had only been trying to make me feel better by saying that it happened. It had never happened to her before in all of the years that she was practicing - at least not without her actively trying to make it happen. This was a first for her, and it bothered her.
I sighed deeply, woeing myself.
"I didn't manipulate you into feel " Ivy began, but I cut her off before she could continue.
"I know," I said realizing that she had taken my sigh in the worst way. Ivy hadn't been doing anything to me that she didn't normally do. She had respected the boundaries I placed between us, even though I knew it was hard for her. She would never trick me that way, or try to use me. I was certain of that. "I know," I added more softly. "It was me."
Ivy didn't immediately say anything in response to that, so we found ourselves laying beside each other on her bed in an awkward silence.
"How are you feeling?" Ivy asked finally, making a very obvious attempt to change the subject. She shifted on the bed as she spoke, and by the time the question was out of her mouth she was sitting cross-legged on the bed. "Do you want some juice? Chocolate?" she continued glancing over at me. "I could go get you something. Actually I don't think we have any chocolate. I could make a run to the store. Do you want chocolate?"
Oh god, she was babbling. That was a very bad sign. I offered her a weak smile and shook my head. I actually wouldn't have minded some chocolate, but I didn't really want her to leave. We needed to talk about what had happened, and if she left to go to the store the opportunity to talk would fade. Yes, she would return with the chocolate as promised, but I was certain that she would simply deliver it and leave again, and I needed to talk to her.
"Did you always know you liked girls?" I asked suddenly, my eyes widening as I realized what I had just asked her. I blinked. I hadn't meant to say that. I hadn't planned on saying that. But there it was.
Ivy sighed deeply, and looked towards the bedroom door. She was still as a statue as she stared at it, and I was certain that she was going to take off and probably not even bring back any chocolate. However, she surprised me by turning back around to face me.
"You mean like from the womb?" she asked a little morosely, her eyebrows drawing together as she frowned down at me.
I bit my lip to stop from smiling. There was really nothing remotely amusing about the situation, it was just that when Ivy sulked I always found it incredibly endearing, and even in the middle of 'the most awkward conversation ever' I couldn't not find her adorable.
"No. Smartass," I responded glaring at her a little. "I meant from adolescence or something."
"I don't know," Ivy sighed petulantly, her gaze dropping to the dark sheet covering her bed, tracking her pale fingers as they moved in swirling patterns over the sheets. She didn't want to be talking about this. "I guess. Maybe. Yes," she finally settled on, shifting uncomfortably on the mattress, her motions jostling me. "I met Skimmer when I was seventeen," she said. I knew Skimmer was the one who had introduced her to the ways of lady on lady love. "Does that count as always?" she asked a bit snippily a moment later.
"You never suspected before her?" I asked curiously. Skimmer couldn't have been the first female to make a pass at Ivy. Ivy was gorgeous, the 'so beautiful it hurt' type of wonderful looking, and I imagined that all sorts of people had tried to seduce her. More than a few girls had hit on me in High School and college, and I wasn't close to Ivy's level of stunning.
"Not really," Ivy sighed. "I was otherwise occupied," she continued, and I suppressed the urge to shudder. Piscary had gotten his claws into Ivy young, and I took her response to mean that she had been too involved with him before Skimmer to pay much attention to her feelings for others beyond who would let her fang them soonest.
"I've never," I began, but an irritated sound from Ivy cut me off.
"I know you're straight, Rachel," she breathed out. "Why are we having this conversation?" she asked irritably, her frustration with me finally showing through. Really, I couldn't blame her. I was showing a lot of nerve talking to her like this after what had just happened, and I wasn't convinced that it was the good kind of nerve. But, I couldn't seem to stop talking.
"I've been thinking about you," I blurted out, another blush coming to my face.
Ivy was silent for a moment, staring at me with an uncomfortable intensity before she muttered, "That's sweet," in a rather scathing tone, her eyes shifting to gaze longingly at the door to her room.
I tensed seeing the look on her face. I knew that look. She was seconds from fleeing the scene of the crime. I had to do something quick or she would be gone before I could say anything at all.
"I've been thinking about you naked," I said impulsively.
I winced a little, as the words came out of my mouth, and sighed thinking that perhaps I should have been a bit more ambitious and tried to say something that was quick and smart. Quick I was good at, smart took a little bit more effort on my part.
Ivy breathed in deeply, but remained silent, her black eyes focused intensely on the door to her room. "Rachel," she breathed out finally. The exhalation was soft, but there was an unmistakable note of warning in it. I ignored it as was my habit.
"I think I want -" I began to say before I could loose my nerve.
I'd been confused for a long time. I'd been scared and perplexed by own feelings, and so I'd tried to bury them, and ignore them, and then rationalize them away. But no matter what I told myself, no matter what denials I tried to attach to my feelings, no matter how far I tried to shove my feelings down inside of myself, they always came back.
I didn't want to think about how good it felt when Ivy bit me. I didn't want to think about how much I ached for the feel of her fangs and how much comfort I took from the warmth of her body pressed up again mine. I didn't want to think about the fact that I curled up in her chair when she was out of the church so that I didn't have to be without her smell. I didn't want to think about the fact that her smile could make my heart clench, or that the sound of her voice was like soft fingers running up my spine.
I didn't want to think about these things, but I did constantly.
"You can't just think, you need to know for sure," Ivy said cutting me off. "Where we are now, what we are now, I've accepted it. I'm dealing with it. I'm content with it. I am," she said emphasizing the last part. "But if," she broke off for a second, her eyes squeezing shut as she took a few deep breaths to try and steady herself. "I can't be an experiment, Rachel," she continued softly. "I love you too much for that."
I sighed, and tried to clamp down on my rising frustration. Ivy was so confusing sometimes, a tall, sleek, predatory mass of conflicting emotions. How was I supposed to know if I liked being with her, until I had been with her? I couldn't know if I would respond sexually to a woman, because I hadn't been with a woman before. If I had been our situation could have been resolved before it even began. It wasn't even like I could go out and find some anonymous attractive woman to make-out with to test my flexibly on the Kinsey scale because I hadn't found myself attracted to any woman other than Ivy.
"I can't know whether I'll like it unless you touch me, can I?" I asked in what I hoped was a reasonable tone of voice. My eyes lingered on her exquisite profile as I spoke and I felt the desire to reach out and touch her soft, milky skin.
"You like men," Ivy said, resolute in her decision not to meet my eyes. She was being a confusing mass of conflicting emotions again. Her tone was brusque and her words somewhat belligerent, yet there was an undercurrent of hope in her voice as if she didn't quite want to believe what she was saying. She said I liked men as if that was the end of it, but I wasn't sure who she was trying to convince, me or herself.
"Yes," I said not backing down. "I like them a lot. You like men, too," I continued, my eyes narrowing at her.
Ivy had been straight at one point or at least she had thought she was straight. She had to go through a journey of self discovery herself. Sure, hers was helped along by teenage hormones, bloodlust, and vampire pheromones, but she must have been uncertain at some point. She must have been confused, and scared at some point, she must have worried until the first time Skimmer kissed her and lit her up inside.
"You also like women," I went on, forcing myself to concentrate on the situation at hand. "I can't make a broad general statement about my attraction to the fairer sex, but I can say that I do like you," I told her honestly. "I'm attracted to you. I want to touch you. I've dreamed about touching you, and they were wet," I added, the last part a mere whisper of breath, though I knew Ivy was easily able to hear them. It wasn't the most romantic speech in the world, and the last part might have been a bit of an over-share, but it was honest.
"You've dreamed about me?" Ivy asked slowly, finally turning to look at me. Her voice was softer and less hostile than it had been before, and that hopeful quality was back, and more pronounced.
"Yes," I breathed out shakily. "Pretty often for almost a month now," I told her flushing a little bit as remembered snippets from my dreams rushed my brain. "I was thinking about it while you were feeding. I think that's I mean it could be why I " I trailed off unable to actual say it. It was just too embarrassing.
"Why you had an orgasm?" Ivy said softly, finishing the thought for me. A shiver ran through at me at the low tone of her voice. That gray silk purr combined with the word 'orgasm' coming out of her mouth making me throb with a desire I was finally able to admit.
"Yeah," I confirmed, resolutely not looking at her as I remembered my breath coming quicker and shallower, as my heart pounded rapidly beneath my breast as my hips shifted restlessly on the bed. I had tingled all over and I knew what was happening, I recognized the sensations, but I was powerless to stop them or control them. My eyes had squeezed shut as pleasure tore through me, and then Ivy's hand was running up my thigh and over my hip before she wrapped it around my waist and tugged me to her roughly, her fangs slipping even deeper inside of me as she held me against her and I came. My body had tensed in her arms and a strangled cry tore loose from my throat, and I trembled, god how I trembled, moaning helplessly as wave after wave of pleasure flowed through me. It had been one of the most magnificent orgasms I'd had in my life.
Ivy shifted on the bed, and a moment later I felt her hand move to rest on my stomach overtop of my shirt. Her touch was tentative at first, her hand more hovering above me than resting against me, but when I didn't pull back or react with fear to the touch she allowed her hand to rest against me more firmly, and I made a small sound of contentment.
"This is serious, Rachel," Ivy said softly, drawing my eyes over to hers. "Once we I mean, if we do this, there's no turning back. There's no going back to the way things were. If you're just curious "
"That's not what this is about," I interjected a little hotly, taking umbrage to her insinuation. "I wouldn't do that you, Ivy. I'm looking for a cheap college thrill. I love you," I told her sincerely. "And, well, I don't know. I'm a little slow okay, so sue me. It's taken me a lot longer to figure out exactly what that means, but I know now."
"You're sure that ?" Ivy began again.
"Yes!" I interrupted before she could ask me if I was sure again. I was sure, dammit! I was sure as a fox! Okay, that didn't make any sense, but whatever, because I was sure okay! "I'm sure, Ivy," I said in a more reasonable tone of voice, knowing that she was only being so cautious because I had jerked her around so much in the past. "I want to be with you," I said, meeting her eyes and holding them.
"I want to be with you too," she whispered shifting minutely closer to me, close enough to me that her warm breath set my scar tingling.
And then Ivy's lips were pressed against mine, and I was sure I never wanted her to stop.
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