The Endowed by Tianna Xander

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July / 2009

Angleo dipped his head, kissing Tori as he carried her into his room. Her slight weight felt so right in his arms. It was as though she was made for him, for them. Still, he wasn’t sure he had the right to take her life from her. He would never harm her, but he knew once they made love he would never let her go. Was it fair to take what she offered without warning her of the consequences?

He set her down in front of the king-sized bed and shoved his hands into his pockets, determined to give her a second chance. “This is your opportunity to leave if you have changed your mind.” He stepped back, extending his arm, indicating the area behind him. “There is the door. You are welcome to walk through it.”

Angelo said the words, knowing she would leave. What human woman could ever willingly want to make love with a monster? His body ached for her. Would always ache for her. In all of the centuries of his existence, no one had ever made him feel the way she did, just by living. “I do not want you to feel forced.”

Ric? He reached out, using his kind’s telepathic ability. Do you remember this one? Do you think she could be one or both of our bellacara?

There was nothing to do but wait for Ricardo’s reply as Tori laughed softly, obviously nervous, then walked around the sparsely furnished room. Angelo couldn’t help himself for he needed to know what was on her mind as she strode around his bedroom, her face serene. He gently slipped into her mind, needing to know how she really felt.

Tori was amazed at how sterile his bedroom looked–at least she assumed this was his room. It appeared to be the master suite. There were no pictures and very few personal items. She strolled around the room, her fingers caressing the gleaming furniture and wondered absently if there would be clothes in the closet if she looked.

Angelo couldn’t help but read her thoughts, even after he attempted to give her privacy. He tried not to for she was right, it was rude though countless centuries of believing it was his God-given right was hard to change.

“Forced? You wouldn’t force me.” She stopped in front of him, raising her hand to his cheek. “I know here.” She placed her other hand on her chest. “If I asked you to stop, you would. I trust you.”

A strange feeling lodged in the center of his chest at her words. Speaking her thoughts aloud only made them that much more precious to him. “How can you trust me when I don’t even trust myself?” Angelo barked a laugh. “I hardly dare to believe what you are offering me.” He smiled ruefully. “It makes me wish I could mesmerize you and I haven’t wished for anything in centuries.”

I have a memory of our first encounter with this one. Ricardo finally answered. It was as though he, too, wanted to see and feel her reaction. It was ten years ago. I thought you remembered as well. I knew she’d grown to adulthood, that we could finally claim her. I just had no idea where to find her. Why do you think I wanted to return? She was here and finally old enough to mate. Besides, Ricardo added. We terrified her. I’d hoped she would have outgrown her fear of us. She was barely more than a child when we first met. We have drawn many children to us by mistake. Though our young Victoria could not know this, what makes us different from those like Antoine and his sister, is that we do not feed from them.

I would feed from an animal before feeding from a child, Angelo replied, trying to keep the telltale scowl from his face. The last thing he needed was for Tori to think he was angry with her.

As we both would, old friend. Ricardo’s answer came sure and fast. I shall join you as soon as my work is done. Perhaps she will welcome me into her life as well.

We can only hope, Angelo said, just before he withdrew from their mind link.

Angelo returned his full attention to Tori as she looked up at him, a frown marring her beautiful face.

“Why do you wish you could mesmerize me?” she asked, ignoring the reminder of his immortality.

He shrugged. “If I could mesmerize you, I could guarantee your pleasure.”

Tori tilted her head, obviously confused. “But wouldn’t a willing partner be better? Knowing the person is with you because they want to be?” She licked her lips, turning her gaze toward the floor. “Knowing the pleasure you give them is real?”

Pain flashed through him, taking him by surprise. “A willing partner would be wonderful.” He sighed wistfully. He looked at her through eyes he knew must reflect his longing for her. “But who would willingly desire a monster?”