“Given into this sensation, feel I’ve run too far
Cannot see beyond emotion, see what the options are
With no faith to trust the notion, I fear I’m losing all control”
Poets of the Fall – Desire
Chapter 24: Slipper When Wet
“I’m not a fan of this plan,” Damon said, leaning against a lamppost across the street from the Mystic Grill.
Stefan shot him a small smile. “So you’ve said – ten times now, at least.”
Shrugging it off, Damon said, “Doesn’t make it any less true. Don’t see why your girl has to draw mine into her Maury Povich daytime drama. Paternity tests are in, Stefan – we already know who the daddy is and we also know Isobel is just someone’s lacky. We should just kill her and get it over with.”
Pinching his nose with a world weary sigh, Stefan said, “That’s your answer to everything, Damon. Kill first, ask questions later.”
Damon smirked and shot his brother a wicked grin. “It’s served me well in the past and I don’t like giving people the benefit of the doubt. Why take the chance?”
Especially where Isabella is involved, he added silently.
They’d had a blessedly quiet week following Stefan’s binge drinking episode and the attack from a small contingent of Cold Ones. He’d been right pissed to pull up to the house, Elena codling Stefan in the backseat like some sort of kicked puppy, to find Victoria had sent some errand boys to do her dirty work. It not only confirmed that she really wouldn’t give up (not that he expected her to) but that she’d known he was away from Isabella and there was someone keeping tabs on them. Likely some bitch Cold One with a talent to remain hidden because neither Jasper nor him had found any trace of a scent.
Which had pissed him off even more than he’d already been. Add to that finding Isabella damn near passed out in the vervain room and Damon was ready to see a few heads roll, starting with Steffie’s. He’d warned his idiot brother about getting his shit together but had he listened? No, of course not, because Damon couldn’t ever be right or know what the fuck he was talking about – at least in Stefan and Elena’s eyes.
Just listening to her cooing at him the whole ride home had set his nerves on end. Of course Elena didn’t blame Saint Stefan. It wasn’t his fault temptation had driven him temporarily mad with bloodlust; it wasn’t Stefan’s fault he couldn’t keep his shit in line. Somehow it was all on Damon’s shoulders.
“Oh pull the other one, Elena,” he’d bit off, pissed beyond belief that he’d had to leave his wife in the care of some Cold Ones he wouldn’t trust to wipe his ass, Major be damned. All just so he could clean up Stefan’s mess like he was some fucking toddler dumping spaghetti o’s over his head. He made a mental note to buy his brother a bib for Christmas before he continued, “Of course this is his fault. He knew what would happen; it’s happened before and I fucking warned him. Isabella warned him. But no, Stefan knows best and to hell with everyone else.”
“Damon, you’re not helping right now,” Elena scolded him.
His teeth had clenched so tightly it’d been a wonder his jaw hadn’t snapped. “Is that so? Well maybe we should look at how much you helped make this happen by letting him drink from you like a goddamned sippy cup, hm? And now because of you two, I’ve had to leave my wife under the tender care of the Cold Ones who’d treated her like some sort of house pet.”
“I understand that you’re worried,” Stefan began to say and to Damon’s pleasure he’d sounded ashamed and weak.
“No, no you don’t, Stefan,” Damon interrupted quietly, tired of their presence and just anxious to be back home with his mina, preferably with the both of them naked and rolling around between the sheets. “That’s always been your issue – you think you understand but you don’t.”
“But I’m trying,” Stefan shot back. “I know you helped us in the past only because it served your own interests but it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. We can help each other. You don’t have to do it alone.”
Snorting, Damon said, “I’m not doing it alone; not anymore. But I’m also not doing it with you. Is that why you went on this little rebellious streak – some sort of cry for attention? You jealous of the new kid in town?”
Stefan’s silence was damning as he turned towards the car window, jaw clenched and eyes narrowed.
“Holy shit, that’s it, isn’t it? Or at least part of it. You’re upset that it wasn’t you to ‘get through’ to me. I didn’t feed your hero complex so you went and glutted yourself on the humans – just like a child throwing a tantrum.”
“That’s not it, Damon,” Stefan mumbled through gritted teeth. “I just don’t understand how this girl can change you so much in so little time. I’ve been trying for decades to reach you and it’s like you meet her and five minutes later you’ve seen the light.”
Damon snorted. “Don’t fool yourself, Stefanie. I haven’t changed, not really. I’m still the same murdering bastard you all know and love,” he gave him a cocky grin in the rearview mirror before hesitating, the grin melting away into a pensive expression. “I’m not different, Stefan. I’m just more. Isabella helped me find more.”
“But how, Damon? How?”
Shaking his head, he shot another derisive look to his brother. When he responded, his voice was equally bitter and enlightened, years of the poison behind their strained relationship lanced out at last owing to the insight Isabella granted him in all aspects of his life. “You really don’t get it, do you? You spent decades trying to change me, convert me to your emo, diary writing ways… But Isabella never once tried to change me. She listened, accepted, encouraged – hell, she even bitched me out – but she never once tried to change me to fit a mold she deemed acceptable. She never tried to force me to be something I’m not, but through her, I found more than I was. That’s what unconditional love does, brother. If you still don’t get it, then maybe you and Elena should have a chick flick marathon and a heart-to-heart because I’m fucking done talking about it,” he sneered as they finally arrived home.
But before they exited the car unknowingly to the shit storm awaiting them, he looked back at Stefan’s wide, shocked expression and spat, “And if I ever hear you refer to Isabella as ‘that girl‘ in that arrogant judgy tone of yours again, I’ll rip out your tongue so you can use it as a bookmark.”
With a definitive slam of the door, he’d left his brother and his little girlfriend to swallow that bitter pill, eager for the comfort and acceptance always found in Isabella’s arms. And maybe if he played his cards right he could spend the next five hours or so not only in her arms but also between her thighs which were equally welcoming.
Instead, however, he’d scented the cloying stench of Cold Ones and spilt venom, his indignant anger converting into a protective rage as easily as a switch flipped.
Jasper appeared in front of him, looking wind-blown but grinning in a self-satisfied carefree exuberance only those who relished a good fight could understand. “She’s safe and the contingent Victoria sent is nearly slaughtered. There’s only three remaining – ” a metallic crunch sounded and Jasper smirked as he corrected, “– only two remaining. Emmett will keep them both alive so I can interrogate them.”
At that very moment, Damon couldn’t have care less about any of the Cold Ones. His mind revolved only around finding Bella and confirming for himself that she was safe.
Not needing any clarification, Jasper answered, “That room in the basement.”
The words hung in the air as Damon sped off before Jasper had even finished uttering them.
As promised, when Damon entered the vervain room with a witty quip to set her at ease, his mina was there and mostly unharmed. He’d been shocked at her weakened state, however. It was quick work moving the table barricade she’d created, his clever girl. When she’d tiredly complained of the scent of vervain getting to her head, Damon whisked her upstairs and into the shower, relief washing over him along with the water as she immediately became more aware and she told him what had happened in his absence.
Fucking Stefan, he’d seethed as she told him everything. Damon didn’t know if he could forgive his brother for taking him away from Isabella when her life had been in danger. Loving Bella created a new facet to his violent nature but if there was one thing constant for Damon it was that he hated feeling helpless. Even more so when it came to protecting Bella.
He’d been insanely amused when she told him of her showdown with the Ice Queen, though in the back of his mind a new worry sprouted. That’d been his mouth on her as she spoke up for herself and while he was immensely proud, he grew concerned that her mouth may start writing checks to supernatural beings that her human body couldn’t cash. The last thing he wanted to do was stifle her blossoming sassy streak, but for his sanity, he hoped she’d make the transition soon.
Which is why he damn near wept tears of joy when she told him of her discovery about the vervain affecting the Cold Ones. Sweeping aside her concern for having told them about the herb that could harm him – those bitches were like tissue paper to him – Damon made a mental note to call Alaric in the morning to begin plans on weaponizing the herb.
Then the week had passed silently – or silent only if one discounted the sounds of pleasure that echoed in nearly every room Damon hauled Bella into. He found it great fun teaching her all the different ways they could come together and his duty to enlighten was one he took with grave seriousness.
“They’ll be fine, Damon,” Stefan’s reassuring words broke Damon’s thoughts. “Nothing bad will happen.”
“Good lord, haven’t you ever seen a movie? Why’d you have to go and say that?” Damon glared at him.
Rolling his eyes, Stefan said, “I’m just saying that Isobel isn’t likely to cause a scene in public and Bonnie and Alaric are in there with them. Just because you’re not with her doesn’t mean something bad will happen.”
“Clearly, you don’t know my girl,” he said dryly, thinking of all the times he’d left her alone only for some big bad to stalk her. “And Sabrina the teenage witch better follow through with our deal. Isabella may have been willing to do Elena this favor for free but she’s a soft one, bless her. But I’m not helping out of the kindness of my heart, so you make sure she spells Isabella’s necklace if you still want our cooperation.”
That’d been a rather brilliant move on his part, he inwardly boasted. When Alaric had come over saying the Isobel demanded a meeting with her estranged daughter, Damon had been prepared to let Stefan and Elena sort it all out. That shit wasn’t his problem and the last thing he wanted was to get in the middle of family drama – he had enough of his own, thank you very much.
But then Elena had turned her pleading eyes to Bella, asking her to go with because she didn’t think she could face her alone… That’d been well played on her part, Damon was forced to concede. While his Bella had certainly discovered her backbone she would always be a tender heart. He rather loved that about her, if he was to be honest. It saved him the trouble of playing nice if she would do it for him.
Still, he’d only agreed to the plan when he’d secured Elena’s promise that Bonnie would spell the necklace. Might as well get something for all their trouble.
“Is it really her safety you’re worried about or something else? Maybe you’re worried your history with Isobel may come to light,” Stefan suggested, not entirely friendly like.
Damon could only laugh at the insinuation. “Nice try, brother, but there isn’t a thing about me that Isabella doesn’t know. Whether you choose to believe it or not, she still wants me even after giving her the bedtime horror story of my life.”
His brother looked at him and it was like he could see the acceptance wash over him, his shoulders slumping as a grudging tint approval lit his eyes. “Then you’re lucky, Damon, and I’m happy for you. Truly. Just… just try not to mess it up.”
“Awe Stefan,” Damon smirked, clapping his brother on the shoulder unnecessarily hard. “For a second I thought you were gonna say something sincerely nice to me. Good save there.”
Rolling his eyes, Stefan gave a small grin. “Now you know how I feel.”
They were saved from further awkward joking by Isobel’s arrival. Both vampires immediately turned sole focus, honing their ever sense onto the Mystic Grill which sat the two very different human women they loved.
Bella started drumming her nails on the table.
“I really appreciate you being here with me, Bella,” Elena said again. “I know I could’ve asked Caroline or Bonnie, but, well, I don’t think they understand as much as you do. Bonnie has a lot on her plate lately and Caroline… I’m just trying to keep her as far away from this craziness as possible.”
Bella gave a polite smile though inside she was sighing. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be there for Elena, especially considering Stefan had agreed to help against Victoria and company, but she longed for the previous quiet days. Relaxing with Damon around the Boarding House with nothing hanging over their heads… well, nothing new at any rate.
She’d even met Elena’s brother, Jeremy, passingly while at the Grill one night. He and the vampire Anna had been shooting pool and Damon had unceremoniously dragged her over for awkward intros before crashing their game. Anna seemed nice enough, but Bella was pleasantly surprised by how much she enjoyed Jeremy’s company, especially considering how his sister grated on her nerves more often than not.
A hand slipped over hers and gripped, dragging Bella’s attention away from her drumming fingers to Elena who was staring down a woman who had welcomed herself to their table.
“Elena,” the woman nodded. Her cool eyes turned to Bella appraisingly. “And who’s your little friend?”
Already not liking the woman who held a vague likeness to Elena, Bella answered, sounding bored and apathetic, “The name’s Bella.”
Isobel lifted her head and stared down her nose at her. When Bella refused to quail under her stare, her eyes moved to her glaring daughter. “I thought you were told to come alone… Not that I don’t see Ric and your little witch friend at the bar watching us, not to mention your little boyfriends outside.”
“Boyfriends?” Elena frowned.
Bella snorted. She thought that was rich coming from the vampire who had begged Damon to sleep with her and then change her, no matter the loving husband completely devoted to her. Her thoughts weren’t exactly charitable when it came to Isobel, but Bella was rather proud to say there was only a scant amount jealousy coloring them.
When Damon had explained his past to her, he’d made certain to reassure her that she was the future. While a part of her was cringing having to make nice with one of his bitchier past conquests, Bella had decided early on not to waste her energy on being jealous of every girl Damon had slept with. First of all, they more than outnumbered her and hating on all of those women sounded absolutely exhausting; second, they were the past – easy for him to leave behind – she was his future.
At her small snort, Isobel looked to Bella as her nostrils flared ever so slightly. “I take it back. Looks Damon prefers your friend. I can smell him all over her.”
Bella suppressed a smile. Before leaving, Damon had dragged her up to their room for a “quickie” which ended up being over 30 minutes long. When she’d moved to freshen up, Damon had tugged her away from the bathroom with a cocky smirk, saying, “Don’t, mina. I want her to know.”
She’d rolled her eyes at him but she secretly loved it, especially when he made a big presentation of not freshening up himself. Somehow Damon always knew how to soothe her even when she herself didn’t realize she was upset. His utter acceptance of her and how he loved to flaunt her shamelessly with pride… It made it all the more easier to stare Isobel down indifferently.
Not dignifying her statement with a response, Bella said pointedly, “Didn’t you want to speak with Elena? You know, your daughter.”
Isobel’s eyes narrowed but she turned to Elena and Bella listened in disgust as the woman basically blackmailed her daughter for the Gilbert Device. The fact that she knew Pearl had given it to Damon just two days ago after John had pissed her off was disconcerting… It made her think that she and John weren’t just a past fling.
When Isobel began threatening to kill people, Bella couldn’t help but scoff, “Gee, you must really be gunning for mother of the year.”
“Excuse me?” Isobel hissed, her unfeeling eyes riveted on Bella.
A trickle of unease danced down her spine, but she stubbornly refused to show it. “I didn’t stutter,” she said pointblank. “We’ll deliver your threats to Damon and he’ll decided what to do with them, though I’m sure you know how he responds to threats.”
“And are you threatening me, little girl?” Isobel leaned forward, glaring.
Bella really thought she and Damon were getting the short-end of the deal here… Sure, her necklace would be spelled finally and she’d be one step closer in her preparation to transition, but Bella kind of felt like she was doing all the work her despite it being Elena’s birth mom. Guess she couldn’t blame her too harshly, she thought though. She suspected Elena to be in a mild state of shock from facing her cold unfeeling mother.
She actually felt rather protective of Elena and damned if that didn’t make Bella even more annoyed with Isobel.
“Just stating the facts,” Bella said archly. This woman knew Damon so she didn’t get why she was acting like her words had been a threat. If he thought someone was trying to back him into a corner, Damon wouldn’t submit, he’d lash out. It was in his nature and always would be.
Maybe she doesn’t know Damon as well as me, Bella thought. The idea was a soothing balm to the small trace of jealousy that had lingered despite her logic.
“You think you’re pretty special, don’t you?” Isobel asked in insulting, condescending humor. “But you’re nothing but a human pet. Damon has had many just like you and there will be even more after you, so I’d watch your tone when you speak with me as he won’t always be there for you.”
Much to Isobel’s surprise, Bella only smiled. “Sounds like you’re speaking from experience there – feeling a little insecure, are we? How long did Damon keep you around after he had his fun? My guess is a day, two tops. You seem pretty high maintenance.”
Isobel regarded Bella with grudging admiration even as she insinuated, “Perhaps we’ll compare notes once he’d bored with you and you’ll understand who was really the pet. He did turn me, after all.”
Again, Bella snorted in amusement. “But he didn’t marry you,” she shot back, enjoying how the woman’s eyes widened looking much like a cartoon character whose eyes shot out of their sockets.
It was funny how she’d been so incensed when she found out about the marriage but here she was now, flaunting it in someone’s face with a prideful smirk. “Now like I said, I’ll tell my husband your little threats and he’ll handle the situation from there. It’s out of our hands really. Elena and I, we’re just the messengers so why don’t you save your time trying to intimidate us into doing something stupid and please, don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
“She’s right,” Elena finally spoke up. Her voice was soft but Bella detected a faint hint of steel to it that had her grinning. “Bella’s right and now we’re done here. I don’t know what I was hoping for when Alaric said you wanted to see me but there’s nothing left for me to say. Nothing more for you to say. Goodbye.”
And snatching Bella’s hand, Elena pulled her out of the bar and to the grassy knoll across the street where Damon and Stefan were eyeing them intently.
Damon’s hands immediately went to her hair, pulling her in for an indecent kiss. “You’re a bit of a hellcat, aren’t you princess?” he mumbled against her lips.
Smiling through another kiss, Bella said, “Because of you, yes.”
“That’s so hot,” he groaned, pulling her against him.
Only to pull back as Stefan interrupted, “Damon, now’s not really the time for that. We need to discuss what we’re going to do next.”
“No more talking,” Damon shot back. His hands went to the clasp of Bella’s necklace which he undid and handed to Elena. “You make sure Witchy puts the whammy on this necklace ASAP… we did our part and while we’d love to help you,” he rolled his eyes, “We’ve got prior plans for tonight so your little pre-game pow-wow will have to wait until morning.”
Not bothering to stick around for Stefan to argue with him, Damon promptly tugged Bella away to his car, opening the door for her and kissing her knuckles before closing it. The gesture made her smile as it was a remnant of his human years, the days of polite courtship and dainty kisses.
Damon got into the car, gave her a cheeky grin, and then started it, expertly palming the wheel with one hand as the other stretched out to hold hers.
“I wasn’t aware we had plans,” she teased, running her thumb against one of his knuckles.
His lips twitched. “Well, we do now.”
Laughing, Bella’s hand went up to her neck but frowned when she encountered nothing but bare skin. Already she missed her necklace. It’d become a habit to fiddle with the chain often, holding the stone in the palm of her hand and drawing reassurance from the slight weight of it there.
“You’ll have it back soon, mina,” Damon said knowingly.
Bella sighed. “I know, I just feel naked without it now.”
Wiggling his eyebrows, Damon said, “Kinky. More on that later though, we’re here.”
Well that was quick, she thought. ‘Here’ turned out to be an average house on a quiet street. The neighborhood was calm and peaceful as the sun began setting, the sound of faint voices barely reaching her ears. The house itself was made of redbrick and white trim. Old, but obviously remodeled.
Frowning, she turned to Damon and asked, “Are we meeting someone?”
Grinning, Damon shook his head, opening his door and then jogging around to her side to assist her, causing her to smile again despite her confusion. He led her along the side of the house, smirking as she pestered him with questions. With a covert glance around confirming no prying eyes, he hauled her onto his back, snickering at her startled eep, and climbed the fence into the backyard with the ease of one taking a casual stroll.
When her feet touched the ground again, she smacked him on the shoulder.
“Are we breaking into someone’s home, Damon?!”
He snickered again with each light smack she gave him. “No, we’re just borrowing it for a time.”
She rolled her eyes. “Borrowing it, really?” she drew out.
The look he gave her was nonplussed. “Sarcasm does not become you, mina,” he teased.
“And neither does breaking and entering,” she countered.
This time he rolled his eyes with an exaggerated sigh. “We’re not entering the house, just borrowing the backyard for the night. And they’re not even home, mina.”
“That doesn’t justify it, Damon,” she said, but then her sweeping eyes caught on a glorious swimming pool with an inviting hot tub attached and her protests dimmed ever so slightly, much to her chagrin. It was easy to follow his train of thought now.
Sensing her internal wavering, Damon looped his arms around her, his lips finding purchase along her neck moving up until he nibbled on her earlobe. Bella gave a slow, delicious shiver.
“Ever been skinny dipping before, mina?” he breathed huskily, his lips and tongue caressing various bits of skin.
Dazed, she arched her neck to give him better access and ignored his chuckle of approval in response. Bella breathily admitted, “You know I haven’t,” moaning slightly as his teeth lightly scraped along the small spot behind her ear.
“I think it’s time to cross that off the bucket list then,” he murmured, hands tugging at her close, peeling them off her unresisting form.
Seeming to catch himself, however, he stopped and pulled away slightly. Shaking his head as though to clear it from a thick fog and then pressed his forehead to hers, muttering, “You make me forget all reason, Isabella. Before our swim,” he said suggestively, hands tightening on her hips before one hand released and went to his pocket. “I have something for you, mina.”
Right now, Bella could only think of one thing she wanted and it wasn’t in the part of his pants he was rooting through. Blushing at her thoughts, she hardly noticed when he’d stopped rooting through his pocket, his fist curled in front of her face.
He waited a long moment for her eyes to dart from his hand to his gaze, a smirk teasing his lips as he drew out the moment of anticipation. Such a flair for the dramatic, she thought fondly even as she nudged him to say get on with it already.
His smirk vanished and he opened his hand. In the palm sat a ring; a large champagne oval diamond surrounded by tiny white ones with two chocolate teardrop diamonds set on either side of it, nestled in a delicate gold band.
Unbidden, her hand rose to it, fingers shaking mildly. She went to touch, but pulled back at the last moment like a child reaching to the forbidden cookie jar.
“Go ahead, mina,” Damon said softly. “I told you I had a ring for you so don’t be shy.”
She reached to it again, the tip of her finger lightly caressing along the exquisite detail almost afraid to love it as much as she already did.
“It’s too much,” she said, voice quivering.
Damon rolled his eyes. “I didn’t pay anything for it – just the resetting.”
She looked up at him again in askance. A rare tender smile was painted on his face and if she didn’t know any better, she’d thought he looked a bit nervous. His ice blue eyes were both firm and sincere, though, as they bored into her, allowing his next words to sink in.
“Stefan doesn’t remember our mother,” he said randomly, his voice a silken caress over her nerves. “But I was very close with her. You remember what I said my relationship with my father was like, but it was very different with my mother. When she died, then our father, followed by us… I went to Giuseppe’s safe and I took her wedding ring. A silly token of remembrance, but one I refused to let go.”
He paused a moment, lost in some memory, and Bella brought her hand to his cheek and caressed it gently, a soft show of support and understanding.
“Isabella, when we married, I knew I wanted to give you this. I made some calls and arranged for the ring to be reset – I didn’t want his token of devotion to be what you wore. I wanted it to be my symbol to you but I still wanted to honor my mother,” he confessed, voice thick with buried emotions that Bella was barely able to sort through.
He stalled again and Bella finally spoke up, knowing that while he accepted his emotions were safe with her it was still against his nature to expose himself thusly.
“Damon,” she whispered, great love dripping from the name. She held out her hand in askance and he promptly slid the ring on her finger. “I love it; it’s perfect.”
He brought her hand to his lips once more, kissing the ring and then her finger. “I love you, mina.”
Bella’s smile was so wide it hurt. “Love you too, but you know, you kind of need a ring yourself to keep away all those bar-flies.”
His shoulders lifted with a deep inhale. “Well, I kind of took care of that too,” he confessed, reaching into his pocket again and pulling out a plain gold band, rustic and worn with time. “There’s no real story behind it, but it was made the same year as yours.”
Moving to slip it on his finger, Bella halted the movement, hand darting out to snatch the ring from him. She held it in front of her face, smiling at the fact that while her band shown brighter, he’d still wanted his to match and had acquired his ring from the same era as hers.
The rings suited both of their personalities – unique, old fashioned, worn with small scars bearing the passage of time, yet they told a story of enduring perseverance bordering on the stubborn.
Tears pricked her eyes. He’d done well, she conceded, knowing how reluctant she was to accept gifts. He hadn’t purchased just any random shining bauble, but had put thought into the action, his efforts warming her heart which suddenly sounded awfully loud to her ears.
Placing a supple kiss to his finger, Bella slid his ring on. “I don’t remember our wedding, Damon, or the type of vows we made, but know that I will always love you for who you are and not who I think you should be. No matter what our future holds, I promise we will face it together and roll with the punches life is bound to send out way. I love you, shamelessly and unequivocally, Damon – in this life and in all of them to come.”
She smiled at the rings seated on their fingers and their clasped hands, the image striking and oddly perfect to her sentimental heart.
Damon leaned down for a searing kiss, pulling back ever so slightly to say, “You saved me when I didn’t even know what I needed saving from. It’s you and me, Isabella. Always and forever.”
Planting a brief peck to her lips again, he pulled away and Bella caught only the briefest glint of playfulness in his eyes before he said, “But enough with the mushy sap – time to swim!”
And with that, Bella found herself suddenly airborne and flung into the pool, Damon’s echoing laugh quickly becoming muffled by the brisk water enveloping her.
She broke the surface again with a gasping laugh. “You do know it’s winter, right? It is insanely cold in here, culo.”
“Suck it up, mina, the pool is heated. Besides, I know a way to warm you up…”
Dragging her hand through the water, she splashed him, giggling at his unamused expression as water dripped from his hair and down his jacket. “Then by all means, don’t leave me hanging… and didn’t you say something about skinny dipping?”
With a playful growl Damon launched himself into the water and was at her side and devouring her lips in a heated kiss that had her toes curling.
“I’m fairly certain I’m addicted to you, Isabella,” he said, dragging his lips down her neck as his nimble fingers removed her wet shirt. “And too bad this shirt wasn’t white,” he smirked, tossing it out of the pool, followed by her bra.
Bella laughed as she returned the favor, removing the shirt clinging to his chest. The really girly part of her brain turned into a puddle of goo as she slowly peeled it off and revealed his chest, her fingers tracing over his shoulders and down his abs before hooking around his belt and unsnapping it.
“I doubt there’s a ten-step program for being addicted to your wife, Damon… you may just have to live with it.”
“Woe is me,” he deadpanned, unbuttoning her jeans as she forced his down.
In what felt like a second he had her own jeans off, flinging them along with his own out of the water.
She lifted a brow. “No boxers today, hm?”
Grinning, he tore her panties off with an easy flick of his wrist, pulling their naked bodies together. “They offend me, mina. I don’t think I’ll ever wear them again.”
“Alright then,” she breathed. His lips returned to her neck before diving down to her nipples, his tongue swirling around one with just a hint of his teeth grazing before he released it and returned the favor to the other.
Her back arched as her hands found purchase in his dark hair, pulling him against her and causing him to let out a faint growling moan that had her tingling.
“Damon,” she moaned and she felt his lips curve upwards in response.
Not to be outdone, Bella let her own hands trail down his back. Once she met the firm curve of his ass she curled her fingers into it and pulled his hips against her, giving a smile of her own as he gasped and then muttered darkly, “Mina…”
Before she knew it, his hands were hooked behind her knees and her legs around him with her back pressed against the side of the pool as he slid effortlessly inside her. This time, they both let out impressive wanton moans and Bella was content to declare their little battle a tie; really, they both had won now.
Damon started a slow, dragging rhythm that had her back arching insistently for more. Addicted, he’d said… She knew the feeling.
Ever the multi-tasker, his lips found a nipple again, sucking and tugging as his pace began to quicken insistently. Bella skimmed her fingers along every inch of his back, a silent encouragement she echoed with a surprised moan as he lightly bit her. The sensation caused a slow unfurling of warmth in her stomach that trailed down between her legs where he surged confidently into her.
“Yes,” she gasped and Damon pulled away from her breasts to look down at her with thirsty eyes.
“Yes,” she gasped again in answer to his silent question. Growling, his tongue traced the shell of her ear and down her neck until he settled at the start of her left breast just over her heart.
“Mine,” he hissed and the word sank into her and seared itself onto her heart where she knew it would remain for all of time. She let out a sighing moan of appreciation as his teeth sank into her and he drank deeply, but carefully, as one savoring a rare bottle of wine.
He groaned against her, the vibration traveling through her body as it throbbed desperately for a release.
The hand not supporting her weight traveled down her stomach and beckoned that tiny spot right above where they met. Heeding the call, Bella tumbled into her orgasm, her legs tightening around him as her thighs quivered and his name flew from her lips in unabashed lust.
Damon let out a long, impressive moan against her as he thrusted, once, twice more before stilling as he came. Freeing his lips, he let out her name in a long drawn out groan that sounded half worshipful and half pleading.
They went limp against each other, Bella’s heart hammering against her chest.
“Warm enough now, mina?” he murmured, lips moving to soothe his bite mark, his tongue lapping gently at it. She thought it would sting, but the sensation had her humming pleasantly tired against him.
A heady giggle escaped her. “Toasty warm,” she allowed breathlessly.
Satisfied with his work, Damon pulled away and bit into his wrist, holding it out to her. Giving a teasing lick before latching onto the wound, Bella drank happily, well used to the heady, dark chocolatey taste that was so sinfully embodied everything Damon.
When the wound healed she placed a thankful kiss there before resting her chin on his shoulder, turning to lightly nuzzle his neck. “Thank you for stealing us a night away, Damon.”
His grip tightened one her. “I’ll steal you away as often as you want, mina. We deserve to be happy even amidst the drama shit storm.”
Chucking, she said, “We should make it a practice to sneak off every once and a while.”
He turned to her and kissed her forehead. “Are you instituting a date night?”
Bella nodded. “I suppose I am… you complaining?”
“Not at all,” he kissed her nose. “Founder’s Day is coming up next week and the town makes a big fuss over it – small rides, games, the whole carnival nine yards. We can go and I’ll win you a stuffed animal. Whatta’ ya say?”
She giggled again. “Sounds a bit boring compared to what we’ve done in the past – I love it.”
“Good,” he nipped at her chin. “Now let’s get outta this water before I turn into a prune.”
A thought popped into her head and she laughed. “Hey! If Bonnie doesn’t follow through with my necklace think we can dump a pail of water over her and she’d melt?”
Sharp, surprised laughter escaped him. “Oh Isabella, promise me you’ll ask her that,” he said as he lead her out of the water.
She giggled as they fought their way into the wet clothes, her snickering continuing all the way back to the car as Damon grumbled about their sopping clothes ruining the interior.
(A/N): This is my longest chapter yet! Hope it makes up for the wait – please do review and let me know what you think!
We have 3 chapters left y’all, then an epilogue…
Oh and for those interested, here are the pics of the rings: