“Good night, M’Lord.” Sally grinned, waving him off.
Elvira entered a few moments later and Sally stared at her in awe. Elvira saw the look and glanced down at herself.
“What? Is there something on my dress?”
“No. The dress is fine. It’s just…you look so much like your father…it warms my heart.”
Elvira smiled at her and sat down at the dressing table. “I miss him still.” she sighed as Elvira began to brush and style her long locks.
“I know, darling. I know.” Sally murmured as she pinned her charge’s hair. She added a ruby-encrusted clip to keep her hair from falling flat then pronounced her ready.
Elvira took up her satin cloak and mask and after giving Sally a hug and a kiss, headed out to meet her husband and children.
Elvira carefully made her way down the stairs, a striking vision in glittering red, and smiled at her husband and children waiting for her at the foot. Dominique spotted her first and stared at her mother in awe.
“Mother, you look absolutely stunning!” she gasped.
“Thank you, darling.” Elvira smiled as she stepped from the last stair. “And if I must say, the two of you make a very lovely couple.” she smiled, eying the twins in all their finery. It had been decided between the two of them that they would be each other’s date to the masked ball as there hadn’t been anyone of interest they wanted to go with. This would keep the gossips from speculating on the love lives of the most sought-after single people in the city.
Damion and Dominique were the children of one of the wealthiest people in New York. It drew out all kinds of unsavory elements, who only wanted them for that reason alone. They learned to be cautious from their parents.
Elvira turned to look at her husband, who had yet to say a word.
It was as if time had rewound the clocks, and he was seeing his beautiful wife again for the first time. Absolutely stunning in a tailor maid gown, that sparkled when it captured the light, she was the epitome of beauty. Dark and daring. The dress hugged her figure, with the ripe curves of her breast showing at the top. The Count was entranced, and let the children show their appreciation as he held back. Damion and Dominique were dressed to impress, and their mother was so proud of them, her words that they make a very lovely couple, having Virgo chuckle softly in behind them. The Marulos were a handsome family indeed.
Once Elvira had taken the last few steps from the stairs to reach the bottom, the Count came forward and reached for Elvira’s hand, bringing it up to his lips, where he kissed it softly.
“Exquisite as ever. I shall have to keep guard over you this eve, for I fear that many men will wish to dance with you.” The Count meant every word, for her beauty was well known in the social circles, and he made a habit of keeping close to her. Not cause he didn’t trust her, but because he made a vow long ago, to protect her with his own life.
There would be unsavory folk at this ball, and he already had worked out that if danger occured, he was going to race her home without a thought.
“The night is young, and the ball awaits.”
He said he didn’t hate her, but she could feel his emotions as if they were a beacon in the night. He hated her with every fiber of his being…and it hurt.
She wanted to cry again.
When the car pulled up to the doors of the estate, Elvira didn’t even wait for her husband, or Gerald to open her door. She let herself out and rushed inside.
“Elvira?” Sally, who was waiting to hear news of the ball, was waiting in the hall when Elvira rushed past her. She was up the stairs and gone before Sally could even blink. She turned to look at Virgo and Gerald as they stood in the door. “What happened tonight? Why is she so upset?” She demanded.
Virgo & Elvira’s Bedroom
Elvira sat on the bed, a hand over her eyes as she sobbed.
“Damn you, Bart!” she whispered in the silence of the room. “Damn you!”
She got to her feet and went into the bathroom to draw a bath for herself. She looked through the cabinet and pulled out her favorite bottle of scented oil that she used when she was pregnant with the twins. It had a soothing effect on her emotions and smelled like Virgo. She unzipped her dress, tossing it to the floor before removing her shoes, stockings and jewelry. She unbound her hair and ran her brush through her long locks. As she set her brush down, her hand brushed against her stomach and the new life growing inside of her. She let out a sigh before she turned off the water to the tub and climbed into the water. She sat back and did her best to relax and put the whole horrid evening behind her. A few stray tears leaked from her eyes.
“Damn hormones.” she sniffed.
“What happened tonight? Why is she so upset?” She demanded.
“Her brother, Bartholomew. He turned up tonight, and I don’t think she got the family reunion she had hoped for. Demanded to be brought home and hasn’t spoken a word to me since. Left me in the car.” The Count looked to the stairs, wondering if he should go up, but instead, he padded off to his den, to enjoy a quiet brandy and cigar…since he felt his wife needed this time to be alone. He shut the door behind him and a quiet descended over the house.
Inside his den, the Count was truly miserable. How could he repair the damage that those two had built up after all these years? It had ruined a beautiful night…and a special one too.
The Count fell back in his chair and stared at the flames, that licked at the charcoal logs.
Sally quietly stepped into the bathroom and closed the door. Elvira was still in the tub, holding a sponge and staring at the wall. Sally sat on the edge and took the sponge from Elvira’s limp fingers. She dipped it into the water and began running it through Elvira’s hair, like she used to do when they lived in England.
“What’s wrong, darling?”
“Bart blames me for the collapse of our family.” Elvira whispered, her tone so forlorn it was heartbreaking. “He thinks I abandoned him. That isn’t true, is it?”
“No sweetheart. I don’t believe that’s true at all. I think your brother had to grow up pretty fast when your father died. Your mother was grieving still, then that whole thing with Juliette disappearing. Then Alice ran off and you became mated. He’s had to fill some pretty big shoes…and he’s lashing out. It’s his way of coping.”
“He told me he tried to kill himself.” Elvira looked at her hands. “Why didn’t he answer my letters? I would have gone to see him.”
“I don’t know the answers to that, love. Only your brother does.” Sally murmured, doing her level-best to give comfort to her charge. “Now, come out of there, the water is getting cold…and your husband is downstairs moping.”
Elvira sat up with a start as Sally drained the water from the tub. “Oh. What must he think of me? I ran off from him…and the evening was going so well.”
“Only you can fix it, love. Go to him and let him love you.” Sally helped her dry off before Elvira slipped into a silk nightgown and matching robe. She padded from the room and down the stairs, searching for her husband.
She stood in the doorway, staring at her husband. He was sitting back in his favorite chair, a glass in his hand, as he stared into the fire before him. She admired the play of firelight across his skin, it gave him a bronze glow, quite rakish and rugged and she felt the love for the man who married her course through her body.
She walked up behind him, bending down to press a kiss to his forehead.
“I’m sorry for ignoring you, love.” she murmured. “My talk with my brother…did not go well.” She straightened and stared down at the top of his head, waiting for him to speak.
Sitting quietly in his comfortable chair, he thought long and hard over the night’s events, and felt that for all he did, it just wasn’t enough to keep his beloved happy. All it took was Bart to unravel all the good that was done and enjoyed and for this, the alpha was clearly annoyed. He didn’t go off, or break anything, but he felt that this had now come between him and his wife, a place that no other man should ever come between a couple.
Virgo was so deep in thought, he didn’t hear Elvira enter the den, till she was practically at his side, and then pressed her lips to his forehead.
“I’m sorry for ignoring you, love.” she murmured. “My talk with my brother…did not go well.”so that was it. The Count reached for her waist, and gently pulled her into his lap, so her legs would go over the arm rest, and he brought her head to his chest, so she could not only feel the steady rhythm of his heart beat, but also his musky scent. He pressed his nose into her hair, and murmured.
“No need to apologize to me, I understand. Hopefully things will improve over time. Till then, let him come to you.”
“No need to apologize to me, I understand. Hopefully things will improve over time. Till then, let him come to you.” He stated, pressing his face to her hair. She rubbed his arm as it was wrapped around her.
She nodded, taking comfort in his embrace. “I shouldn’t have let his words spoil this night for us, darling. It’s supposed to be a happy night. A new life was made.” She took his hand and pressed it to her stomach, keeping her own hand pressed against his. She looked up and met his gaze. “What do you wish for, with this one? We already have one of each, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
She smiled at the thought of being pregnant again. There was no greater feeling in the world then carrying a new life. And she so loved being a mother.
She also got a kick out of being waited on hand and foot by her mate. It made her feel treasured.
“My only hope, is that they are happy and healthy. Isn’t that what you wish for too?”
Course he meant for his mate to feel these things, and was subconsciously stressing the importance that happiness had on a being. Regardless of whether they were human or not. He cradled her into his arms, and let out a contented growl, that meant he was pleased she came to find him, and made peace with him over the final act of the night. The months ahead were going to be challenging enough, without the worry of extended family and its dramas. Virgo wanted to ensure, that Elvira did not feel stressed about things she simply could not change. He did smile at a memory however, of when she was pregnant with the twins, and couldn’t help but remind her.
“You really are adorable when you can’t see your feet.” A random statement, that he loved her being round and full of life. He loved her all the more.
“Of course it is!” she smiled. “Be they wolf or succubus, I don’t care. Our children’s health and happiness means the world to me.” she smiled, gazing at him fondly. She pressed her ear to his chest once more, lost in the memories of when she was pregnant with the twins, as she brushed her fingers over the skin of his arm where he’d rolled up his sleeves. She rested her head against his shoulder and started to drift off to sleep to the sound of his heartbeat.
“You really are adorable when you can’t see your feet.” he smirked, randomly tossing out a comment in the quiet of the room.
“Very funny, my love.” she grinned, not offended in the slightest. “And you, my big strong Alpha…I hope you do not faint during the childbirth like you did before. You’re are lucky Sally and Gerald were the only witnesses to that. Imagine what the rest of the pack would say if they learned their leader fainted as his mate went into labor?” she giggled. She enjoyed teasing him, he always made her smile.
Bart faded from her present memories in the face of her husband’s presence and she was back on form. She knew then that whatever life tossed their way, they would face it together.
She yawned then, the events of the evening finally catching up with her. She covered her mouth with an embarassed grin.
“Thank you, darling. You always have a way of making me see the brighter side of things. And I love you for it.” she murmured, snuggling close. She did not hear his reply as she slowly drifted off.