The Ghost and the Graveyard

Chapter 20


We Make Magic Together
Mercifully, Logan wasn't in the attic. I didn't ask Prudence where he'd gone as I thought his absence was in his best interest. Instead, I threw myself into the task at hand, preparing for the ceremony that would help me save Michelle.
"Your magic is amplified by the night," Prudence said. Her nurse outfit was gone, replaced by a sequined green gown that reminded me of the Oscars. I guess this was a big deal for her. "With concentration, you can mold this attic to your will, but when the sun rises, all you have created will disappear. You won't be strong enouch to maintain it in the daylight."
I nodded. "We need a place for Michelle. I don't want her to be afraid if she wakes up in a strange place."
"Concentrate on the room you would like to create for her. Picture each object and will it here. You must visualize it, exactly, in your head. Any uncertainty and it won't come through."
The walls themselves were easy enough. I created them behind a door in the north wall. The apartment mystically expanded the size of the attic, an instant room addition. But the rest was more difficult. Don't get me wrong; the best part about having a magical attic is the decorating. Don't like the color of the linens? Just think of something new, and poof-there it is. I didn't have to move any furniture or go to any stores. Everything was free and exactly as I wished it. Only, even though I'd spent plenty of time at Michelle's, trying to picture her apartment down to the throw pillow was almost impossible. I made the room as close as I could to the real thing and placed Michelle/Marcus inside.
Then I started preparing for the ceremony.
"Are there any rules? Or do we just, like, do it?"
"It's your party, Grateful. You invite the caretaker into the attic, your most personal magical space." She stepped closer to me and placed her ghostly hand on my elbow. "Rick's magic is internal. It is part of who and what he is, in his very cells. Your magic is external; it is what you choose to be. The ceremony is in the choosing. You will choose to be the yin to his yang. Your power rests in him and in this house. He is the vessel."
I closed my eyes briefly. "I think I know what to do."
"One more thing. You will need this." Prudence approached a large wooden trunk near The Book of Light and retrieved a sword as long as my torso, the same sword as in my memory. "According to legend, the sword was made from the femur of St. Callistus, the patron saint of cemetery workers. It is as sharp as steel. You conjured it for yourself when you first came into your own power. Because it is a holy object, you can't touch it until you've accepted the responsibility that goes with it. If you do, it will burn your hand. However, once the sword knows you, no one else on earth or in the underworld will be able to wield it."
"Cool," I said, dumbly staring at the faint blue glow of the blade. Prudence held it out toward me. I conjured a small wooden table for her to rest it on.
"Now, I will give you some privacy." Prudence winked at me and dissolved.
I focused on the empty room. From the moment we'd met, I'd thought of Rick as a matador. I'd supposed that I was the bull. But I was wrong. We both were the bull, and we both were the bullfighter. Sex is akin to death in a way. It is the end of one stage in a relationship and the beginning of another. Something is given up when you have sex, and something is given to you. It's why I don't believe there is such a thing as casual sex.
Nothing about sex is casual. In the best situation, sex can create life, but more often it ruins lives. And so, it is a dance of trust. It is a dance of beauty and humility. It is a dance with death. Tonight, I would die to who I thought I was and become what I was meant to be.
I wore a red cape and nothing else. The floor was sand. The bed was red silk and velvet. Candles encircled the room by the hundreds, red, glowing things that provided the only light. A table next to the bed held the sword Prudence had placed there. When all was prepared, I invited Rick in.
He'd dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, but as he walked through the door to the attic, my magic changed him. Now, he wore a blood-red matador outfit, complete with beaded jacket and skintight pants that left nothing to the imagination. He wrinkled his brow as he looked down at himself.
I shrugged. It was my fantasy; I pulled the strings. His sultry smile told me he'd willingly resigned himself to his fate.
Rick strode into the arena with the grace of a dancer, a Baryshnikov in bullfighting gear. He circled me slowly, never taking his eyes off me. I backed away, the red cape wrapped around my body. When we'd completed the circle, I faced him head-on, wrapped one of my arms in the side of the cape and with a large, quick circle, flourished the fabric in front of my body. The effect was that Rick could see only portions of my nude flesh as the cape fell-the line of my neck, a shoulder, my breasts, my stomach, a hip, and the length of my leg-all before the red fabric swallowed me again.
Power flooded the room, a wild, tangible thing. Rick's tongue ran across his lips, and he started toward me, tentatively at first, but then his steps quickened. He reached for me and his fingers grazed the space between my breasts. I dissolved and appeared behind him on the other side of the arena, panting with desire. The move was effortless. The magic, part of me.
He turned toward me like a predator, lowering his chin and meeting my eyes through his lashes. His lips parted, and the corner of his mouth rose in a way that made me long to kiss the grin away.
I circled the cape again, slower this time so that each part of my body was etched into his memory. In the blink of an eye, he traversed the arena, his hands at my waist. Every cell in my body wanted to sink into his embrace. But not yet. His fingers passed through me as I faded. Across the arena, I appeared again, circling the cape as fast as he could turn to see it.
Rick was on me in an instant. This time, I allowed it. I kissed him, my tongue searching his mouth as I stroked him through the thinly stretched fabric at his groin. I noticed again how huge he was, definitely longer and thicker than any man I'd had before. Intimidating as it was, the feel of him in my palm made my heart race and my body clench with anticipation. I broke apart and reappeared across the arena, in front of the bed.
This time, when I circled the cape, I swept it off me and tossed it aside. And then I was flying. My feet had left the floor before the cape hit the sand. Rick's arms were around me, and we were falling, falling toward the bed. He rolled in the air, taking the impact of the fall and catching me on top of his body. I had a glorious moment of feeling my weight stretched out on top of him. Then he smiled and showed me a set of razor-sharp, elongated teeth. His jaw had lengthened, and his eyes were coal-black disks. This half-shifted state was the caretaker at his most powerful.
For a moment, it threw me, made me question my choice. But what had I expected? I'd known he would take blood. He waited patiently for me to make the next move, waited for me to process what was happening. I lowered my lips to his, darting my tongue between those long canines.
Heart pounding, I crawled off him to the end of the bed. He tried to follow, but I had other things in mind. I liked control, and today I would have it. Arms shot out of the bed and gripped him to the duvet. Twelve of them. All mine, of course-echoes of my own. I crawled to the end of the bed and watched my magic at work. My echo hands grabbed handfuls of his shiny red matador outfit and, at my command, ripped it off and cast it aside. He tried to reach for me, but my magic was stronger than him here, and I was enjoying every second of this game.
"Mmmm. What shall I do with you now that I've caught you?" I whispered. The candles blazed higher, fed by my lust.
Languorously, I worked my real hands up his legs from his feet, dipping down to lick his inner thigh. He growled. Power, so thick it was like we were under water, filled me and connected us as it had before. Every kiss, every caress registered in my body as if it were done to me. I lapped up his hard shaft, toying with the heavy weights at the base. I circled the tip with my tongue, then sucked harder, taking him deep into my throat.
He moaned and arched into me.
I released him slowly from my mouth as I prowled up his body, brushing my breasts over the smooth expanse of his chest. My eyes caught on his scar. I'd put it there when I'd made him my caretaker. I traced my finger over it, noting that it no longer hurt for me to see it. Whatever magic unraveled within me had cured me of that malady. I raked my nails gently down his arms and flicked my tongue over his right nipple. His breath caught.
"Mi cielo, please. Please," he begged.
When I finally reached his mouth, I spilled my hair over my shoulder to keep it out of the way and allowed my lips to linger over his. With my nose and cheek, I traced the sharp line of his jaw, warm skin on skin. I ached to have him inside of me, but owning him like this was exquisite torture. I rolled my hips against him until he moaned my name, and I couldn't take it any longer. I positioned him at my entrance. My echo hands retreated into the bed as I lowered my hips.
Slowly. Slowly. I had to go slow or I feared he would split me open. Truly though, the pleasure was unbelievable. I felt my own but then I felt his as well. Up and down, I worked him into me inch by throbbing inch. He held himself back, patiently waiting for me to get comfortable with his size. But once he was completely in me, he began moving, kissing me, my neck, my ear, rubbing his hands down the length of my body.
Then he flipped me up. It was effortless, like I weighed nothing. He folded his lower legs under and rose to a kneeling position on the bed, grabbing me under my butt, so we were chest to chest and hip to hip. In this position, he was so deep it was almost painful. He thrust into me, worked his hand up my stomach, cradled my breast. I arched backward, and he sucked my nipple. The rhythm of our bodies caused the pleasure to build, greater and greater until I was at the edge.
"Mi cielo," he moaned, closing his eyes and tilting his head back. The words echoed warm and sweet inside my head. "It's time. Pick up your blade."
I did as he said, and it did not burn my hand. I allowed him to guide the blade to the right side of his neck and pressed the sharp bone into his flesh. Just as the orgasm overcame me, he moved my hand, slicing open the skin over his jugular. His other hand palmed the back of my head, pulling my mouth to the wound.
The thought of drinking blood had never intrigued me before, but Rick's blood was liquid orgasm. Pleasure flowed from my lips to my toes. I rolled with it, coming again and again. His release mirrored my own, and I milked Rick of what he pumped into me as the warm blood coated my throat. The power bound us together, made each orgasm feed the next.
His teeth sank into my neck and shoulder, a wide bite that drew blood but wasn't painful. My flesh moved aside to allow him access. Warm and wet, blood dripped down my back, washed into his mouth. I sucked from Rick while he drank from me, pleasing each other in every possible way.
I was vaguely aware of a wind circling us, stirring up the sand in the arena, gentle at first but then with a terrible force. We were in the eye of a hurricane, a cyclone of power.
Time stopped. I raised my head. A trail of Rick's blood dripped from the corner of my mouth to my chin. I wiped it away with the back of my hand. The grains of sand from the arena hovered like static in the air. Rick was motionless at my neck. The candles were frozen mid-flicker. Everything had stopped but me.
"What the fuck?" I said, watching as the ceiling opened up above me.
A ball of light appeared and plowed into my chest with such force, it took my breath away. I gasped, and time knocked back into its flow. The sand fell and so did we, onto the bed.
Panting and spent, Rick pulled out of me, rolling to his side and wrapping me within a cocoon of his body. He burrowed his face into the back of my hair. "I love you," he said into my ear.
I wanted to respond in kind. I wanted to say I loved him too. At that moment, I even felt like I did. But I wasn't sure if it was the magic or the memories or the fantastic sex. So I didn't say it. He didn't press for a response. He held me until it was obvious that we had to get back to business if we wanted to have any hope of saving Michelle.
But I found myself longing for five more minutes in his arms.