Once she was clothed, with her hair piled in a sloppy ponytail, she opened the closet.
Fane was hunched over on an upturned clothes hamper, as far back as he could be. His face was drawn with exhaustion and he looked as though he was about to be physically ill, but otherwise seemed to be in decent shape.
He grimaced when she opened the door to his sanctuary, and looked up at her with the exact expression of a kicked puppy. “Please close it.”
Caitlyn sidled in next to him and shut the door. She was thankful for the thin gaps between the slats of the door, letting in just enough electric light from her room to keep her from panicking. She navigated through the dangling clothes and wondered why her parents felt the need to give her such a massive closet when they built the house. She had been a child at the time.
“I was thinking earlier,” she said, reaching blindly forward. A hand caught her wrist and he guided her the rest of the way to the back of the closet. “Since it’s daytime, presumably you can’t feed. And you haven’t fed since you left Romania—again, presumably.”
“You presume correctly.”
“And you’re probably weak without blood.”
“Rather. If you are offering me your blood or giving me permission to kill your cat, please do not torture me any longer.”
She patted around until she found his face. “My cat remains alive, thank you. But—I am. It’s one-thirty now. The first sponsor showed up not long ago. Be quick, and we can scout around downstairs before the meeting starts.”
In the dim light, she saw him nod once. “Sit,” he murmured, and pulled her onto his lap. She had a sudden absurd image of sitting on Santa Claus’ knee at Christmastime—then he brushed the hair away from her neck, making gooseflesh ripple all down her body, and her mind went blank.
His lips brushed the pulse fluttering just behind her jaw; his teeth lightly grazed the skin. Her breath jumped from her throat in a gasp, and her body tensed in preparation for the pain that was to come.
Then it came. In a sharp burst of pain that made her eyes shut and her mouth open in a soundless cry, his teeth cut into the flesh and she felt his tongue dance against her pulse as his mouth caught the hot blood. His hand moved to the small of her back, pressing lightly, and she arched against him, gasping.
The pain faded as quickly as it came, and she relaxed, boneless, against his chest. His mouth moved and his tongue took its place, sliding up her neck to catch a drop of blood that dripped down to her collar.
Her fingers found his shirt, and she pulled on his sleeve. Panting, he released her and licked her neck once more, and moved an arm behind her back, holding her upright on his lap.
“Thank you,” he all but growled into her ear, and when she looked up at the predatory glint in his eyes she was overwhelmed with a sudden urge to push him against the wall and break a few of the Commandments.
“Jesus,” she whispered, placing a shaky hand on her neck and sliding off his lap to sit on the floor instead. The floor was safe. She couldn’t get into trouble on the floor.
Unless he joined her on the floor—
“We—we should go,” she stammered, crawling one-handed toward the door. “Things to do. Save the world. All that.”
His chuckle was little more than a low rumble behind her.