Authors: Kat Barrett
“Which one was that? I didn’t hear you propose anything to me personally.” The sheepish grin on her face made him smile. He was overthinking things. Russell slid to his knees. He turned to face her and took her hands. “Emerald Slade, would you marry me as well as Salt and Rory?”
Em smiled. She turned her eyes to Rory and then Salt.
The other two men were leaning against the back of the sofa, watching them. Russell had forgotten they were present. He was so glad to have Em back.
When she didn’t answer, he wondered if she were going to say no. He hadn’t taken the time to talk with Rory. Russell had assumed that she had said yes when Rory asked. Had he been wrong?”
She stroked his cheek and then turned back to Salt. “Are you asking, also?”
Salt skipped over and sank down in front of her, nudging Russell to the side. “I’m asking, too. Will you marry us, sweet vampire queen?”
She looked to Rory, and Russell thought that his smile looked kind of sad. Em nodded to him and the entire expression of Rory’s face changed.
* * * *
Rory thought that she had nodded yes. Since when? She had told him no, hadn’t she? Had he misinterpreted what her reply had been? In considering it, she had never really answered him. Billy had come over and cut in on their dance, and the entire subject had been dropped.
He walked over to the bed. Rory leapt onto the mattress, turned, and flopped down behind Em. At the same time, he grabbed her and forced her to fall back so her head was on his chest. “Does that little wiggle of your head mean that you want to marry the three of us?”
“Yes, it does.”
Em needed something concrete. She needed to get her mind off the caves and Vidar. Planning a wedding would give everyone something cheerful to look forward to, including her.
“I think we should wait until spring. I always imagined a wedding with tons of flowers. Shall I wear black or white?”
Rory chuckled, his chest heaving with joy. “I think you should wear both. Is a two-toned gown acceptable?”
“I don’t know. I will have to see who has sewing skills. I’m sure someone will design it for me. Maybe I should have a contest. Whoever wins can be my maid of honor.”
“That wouldn’t be too fair to whoever can’t draw,” replied Russell.
“I suppose, but I would make it clear that I’m not judging on artistic talent, just on the concept. We can make it a community project and give everyone something to do. Maybe we can make it a new holiday and anyone who wants to get married can on that day.”
Rory chuckled again. “Wouldn’t that be taking away some of your starlight? It will have to be at night, you know.”
Em slapped backward, hitting him in the stomach. “I’m not stupid. Of course it will have to be at night.” Rory wondered if she had seen the gardens in the caves. He had been there before the sonic and it had been a wonder above all else to walk in the sun, even if it was muted by protective glass. Em didn’t know of his visit to the caves and neither did Salt or Russell. It had been a long ago experience when Vidar had tried to reel him into his flock of vampires. Rory had been more of a loner in those days and wasn’t interested in being under the watchful eye of the vampire governors. Everything and anything that went on in the caves was noticed. The only ones who truly had privacy were the governors themselves. Of course things might be different now, but Rory didn’t want to seem too interested. Asking too many questions might reveal that he had once been there. He wasn’t Vidar’s enemy, but they weren’t friends either. Vidar and Rory were too much alike. They wanted what they wanted and that idea scared the hell out of him. If Vidar wanted Em, then he would stop at nothing to eventually have her. Even if it meant destroying all their lives.
* * * *
Em sighed. She had always dreamed that her wedding would be on a sunny summer day. Of course, at the caves, they could have it in the gardens. There would be tons of flowers and she could be radiant in the sun. She really had to put her mind as far away from the caves as possible. “In the spring then. That gives us about four months. Right? I’m not much on the calendar.”
“It is December seventeenth,” replied Rory.
“Oh. I thought it was later in the year. That will put us in the middle of April. The showers bring the flowers. Maybe we should have it in May.”
“Fine with me.”
Em looked at Salt and he shrugged. “I really don’t care when. I leave the details up to you. I asked. My job is done.”
Em pursed her bottom lip into a pout. “That wasn’t very nice.”
“I’m the low man on this totem pole. The decisions and dreams don’t include me.”
The comment was spoken with such indignation that Em grimaced. Russell stared at him and Em felt Rory shift beneath her. “That’s not fair, Salt. You have always been an equal part of this arrangement. I’m sorry that you weren’t included in the dreams, but it takes time for your mind to become attuned to such things.”
“You aren’t all that much older than me, Em. You used to dream with Joel and Gaelic.”
She had never considered that. Em looked at Rory for information.
“Em is older than you in blood, not time. You were changed by her, which means you acquired some of her attributes, but not all of them. We tried to include you in the dreams, but I couldn’t touch your mind to bring you in. It will come in time, Salt. We didn’t purposely exclude you. Why didn’t you say something?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. It has just been bugging me since I found out that you and Russell had been with her. I know you told me about it, but I would have liked to experience it. I keep thinking about what happens if she goes away again. From what Em said, she will go back to Vidar before we are even married.”
Em had stupidly hoped that none of them would do that math and come to that conclusion.
Rory touched her shoulder softly to get her attention. “I didn’t think of that. Is there a reason you picked May?”
“I wanted a wedding outside and I was thinking of April showers bringing May flowers.” It was a half-truth. She had also hoped to protect them by not actually marrying them before Vidar came for her. She was very worried about retribution if Vidar took it personal. For her to marry them meant she was flat out rejecting Vidar.
“Would you be totally against us getting married on the first? I think that the first night of the New Year is the perfect time. It is a new beginning.”
“That’s in two weeks, Rory.”
He was testing her and she knew it. If she made a big deal out of it, he would suspect her of ulterior motives. “I was kind of hoping for summer. There are no flowers and there isn’t time to get a dress made.”
“We will work it out. Right, Salt?”
Salt rolled his eyes childishly and nodded. “Right. I wanted to be included.”
“Yes, you did. Now you will be.” Em gave him a sassy smile. “We can begin tomorrow night. For tonight, I need some serious attention before the sun comes up.”
Salt pulled Em to her feet and then twirled her toward the bed. Russell wrapped a blindfold over her eyes and she heard something thump down in the direction of the sofa. Russell took one arm, his hands warm. Salt put a hand to her opposite shoulder, and they walked her across the room. Within moments they had stripped her of her clothing. She stood patiently waiting for whatever they were about to do to her.
One of them slid something between her feet, pushing them apart. A moment later, her ankles where shackled and her legs spread wide. Russell put a hand to her stomach and another to her shoulders. He supported her as he forced her to bend forward. Rory took one hand and placed it against cold metal. Salt did the same to the other and a moment later, something was lowered over her throat. Em thought it was a pillory, but the design was odd to her. The metal was cold around her wrists and throat. One of them attached clips to her nipples, the weights on the ends tugging on her breasts in an extremely uncomfortable way.
Rory brushed her cheek, the feel of his touch familiar. He licked her lips and then drew her into a kiss. When he silently pulled away, Em felt his cock touch her mouth. His hands went to either side of her head as he held it in place. “You wanted the real thing? This one will be impossible for you to escape from. I saw the real thing, Em. I saw it when they accused a woman of cheating on her husband with another man’s husband. They put her in the town square, naked for everyone to witness. The single men forced themselves on her during the night when she was left alone. It was not a nice memory, but it is what you wanted.”
He picked a hell of a time to tell her. “Rory. You could have just told me.”
“I could have. I’m also full of shit. I’m not that old.”
“Then that was a horrible tale to make up. Pillories were used until the early nineteen hundreds. That was during your lifetime.”
“True, but not where I lived. I was breaking them on you, Em.”
It was the first time she had heard Rory use that particular term. She was thinking of a comeback when a single strand leather whip seared across her naked ass. Em inhaled sharply, not from need for air, but from pure surprise.
Russell chuckled and she was again stunned. Russell liked ropes. Since when did he use a whip? A whip was Rory’s forte.
“My dick needs attention, Em.”
“Did you teach Russell to use a whip?”
“Didn’t have to. He already had it down pat. He had just never used it before. Em felt cool skin against her side and frowned. Rory prodded her lips and she sucked his lovely dick into her mouth. A hand brushed against the chains on her breasts, making the weights swing beneath her.
The leather hit her again, softer this time, repeated crisp hits that made her skin heat with fire. Crack, someone smacked her ass. She had no idea what he had hit her with, but it wasn’t leather. It collided with her skin six times in rapid succession. Salt’s cool hand on her ass. Rory’s taut dick in her mouth, the chains were swinging, tugging on and stretching her nipples. It was infuriating. It was captivating. She was so turned on.
The whip snapped in the air, the high-pitched whine consuming her ears. She was waiting, anticipating the next strike, her skin healing less quickly than usual. Russell’s oiled finger slid from her pussy to her clit. The muscles immediately began to scream and twitch. She was thrashing against the restraint. Em pulled her head back from Rory. “Russell, what the fuck was that?”
He put his finger under her nose. Peppermint oil. “Russell! My clit is on fire. Do something about it.” Salt did something about it. He covered her skin with his blood, making it even worse. Her pussy was stinging, the skin tingling and causing her to roll her hips against it. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling, rather like a burning sting. “That didn’t help, Salt.”
He giggled darkly, slapping her ass with his open palm. She was being spanked, rapidly and repeatedly. Rory tapped her nose. “My cock is getting cold.”
“Then put your damn cock in my pussy. It won’t be cold anymore.”
“Why did your pussy get warmer?”
She turned her head to glare at him. “Are the three of you trying to turn me on or piss me off? If you are trying to piss me off, you are doing a good job.”
“Wasn’t this your dream with Vidar? I thought it turned you on.”
Em should have made the connection, but she didn’t. “No. Not exactly. Vidar didn’t rub peppermint oil on my clit. That shit is really burning. Since when is my pussy cold? It isn’t as hot as Russell’s cock, but it isn’t cold either.”
Rory threw the latch on the pillory. “If your cunt is burning, go wash it off.”
Em had no idea when he had gotten in such a foul mood. She straightened her back with a groan of discomfort, tugged off the blindfold, and hopped to the sink. Em took out a washcloth from the drawer and used it to wash her pussy. It didn’t help much. She needed oil to diffuse it. She bent down and removed the bands at her ankles. She hadn’t even considered the chains on her tits until she unclipped them. The flesh was left throbbing with pain. Em walked into the bathroom and got in the shower where she could clean herself with soap. Rory stepped in with her. He took the soap from her hands and began to gently rub her pussy with it. Em looked at him. “Did I do something to make you all angry? I thought you were happy about me saying yes and then… I don’t know.”
“Are you asking about us or me?”
“I was asking you. I don’t mind the shit you do, but you are not usually crude about it.”
Rory turned her around and lifted her back to his chest by her thighs. The water sprayed directly between her splayed legs, the soap running into the tub. “Better?”
He put her down and Em turned back to face him. Rory shut the water off. He grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her. “I guess I’m a bit miffed that you only answered after Russell and Salt asked.”
“That is what this is about? If you want the honest truth, I’m scared to marry you. I’m terrified that it is going to make Vidar hate you. All three of you. I would die if anything happened to you and it was my fault. I can’t live with that, Rory. I love the three of you so much.”
“Then why are you so damn distant since you came back? It’s as if you are always thinking about something else but us.”
Em thumped her head into his chest. “I have a little voice in my mind that keeps comparing things here to the caves. I know it isn’t fair. What we have is really nice. We built all the houses outside and I should be proud of what we created. I am proud. It’s just that New York is twice this size and well lit. The humans were gathered together in a big room and it looked like a nightclub. Then there are the caves. Their living spaces are well protected and large. They have an amazing garden and a gathering area that looks like a shopping mall. They have a massive storeroom filled with cans, jars, and boxes of supplies. The humans here have to struggle for everything they have. It doesn’t seem fair.”
Rory pushed her back slightly, holding her face as he gazed at her. “I wasn’t going to tell you this. It was years ago. I was at the governors’ caves. I saw the garden. I know the lure of standing in the sun. I also know that things are not as they appear. The humans are well fed because they not only feed the vampires, but they are treated like slaves. Even the lower vampires are used as servants and whores. Vidar only showed you the good side, the prosperous side. He didn’t take you down to level six, did he?”