My time-traveling vampire novel is with the beta readers so I can’t work on it. So I’m thinking about the sequel. Imagining what happens next can help me during revision. I’m sewing up the first story with just wide enough seams to let uncertainty leak through, creating the pool for the sequel.
Asta stepped through the door as if summoned and I smiled watching my thoughts materialize before me.
She wore a tank top and jeans, her dark hair floating over her bare shoulders, her eyes made-up and vivid.
“I’ve just come from Kansas,” she said.
“Kansas. The strip club, the rodeo, the farm house, the fire.” Her voice dropped on the last word and the depth of it betrayed her sadness.
“Kansas,” she echoed.
“I didn’t know you escaped the fire,” I said.
“Neither did I.”
“How did you?”
“Raven took me to Pisa with him and Dahlia.”
“You’re my sire. He’s yours.”
I grinned. “You can travel.” I stepped closer to her, thought to pull her against me, hold her. We’d been apart for months but now we wouldn’t have to be apart again. When I reached for her, though, she backed away.
“What’s this? What’s the matter?”
“I saw how you loved her.” Asta’s voice caught and tears welled in her eyes.
I had a glimpse of Sara in my memory, her wild curls, her blazing green stare.
“If I had known,” Asta said, “I wouldn’t have taken her there. I would never have turned her, never have put her in your way.”
I shook my head. “That was the story.”
“But I forced it.”
“I wouldn’t trade it,” I said.
“I saw you hold her. The way you looked at her. You wanted her.”
I nodded. The broken part of my heart had healed and now felt like the scar of an old wound which doesn’t hurt when pressed.
“Did you ever love me like that?” The tears dripped down her cheeks and her lips tightened.
I shook my head and she looked away.
“Darling,” I said.
“Don’t call me that,” she whispered, squeezing her eyes shut.
“Did you?” she asked again.
“I’ve never loved anyone like that,” I said quietly.
Then she let me reach for her, pull her to me. I kissed her forehead gently.
“I love you. Differently. Completely.”
She looked up into my face then.
“You are my everything now,” I said. “I’ve chased you for a century. How else can I show you?” I pressed her against me, my arms around her waist.
She laid her cheek on my chest and I felt its dampness through my shirt.
“You look good in 21st century fashion,” I said into her hair. “You smell good, too.”
I felt her lips part into a smile against my chest and she breathed out heavily, hot air that warmed me all the way through.
“I love you,” I said.
“Say it again.”
“I love you.”
“Forgive me for Kansas.”
I tipped her chin up and kissed her, deeply, with all the months of wanting her and the taste of black cherry feeling like home again. My body and brain rejoiced, my Asta was back.
“My love,” she whispered.
“Don’t call me that,” she said softly.
My arms still around her, she leaned back in my embrace and searched my face. My eyes blazed with desire for her and I let them. My lips tingled with the memory of her kiss.
“Tell me again,” she said. Her brown eyes rimmed with green glistened with tears.
“I love you,” I said, tightening my grip around her waist.
“Sara. She survived the fire.”
I let go of Asta, staggered back a couple of paces.
She wiped her face, her cheeks and lips, and breathed in deeply.
“Raven saved her, too.”
Without meaning to, I let my eyes pulse and the glare I wore stunned her so she cringed and backed away.