Prologue: Tauroctony, Scene II (Lauren)

"No." Oleander said shortly. He was looking at those exposures, and he had that terrifyingly intense expression on his face, but it was a different sort of intense. Perhaps he was frightened, or angry, or something. It was impossible to tell. "Bloody Moon, he needs to warn us of these things."

But there was no real anger in his voice. Vincent Moon was what he was, and nothing in the world would change him. Having bizarre things happen to you was just part of the game. The only thing that one could say was that Moon wouldn't try to put you in danger.

"Or at least give us a bloody raise." Oleander said, sighing. He looked back at Lauren, and though he was examining her again, it was in a much more cold blooded fashion. "Do you feel any different? Any different at all?"

"He's always like this." Lauren shrugged. "At least you can't ever say your job is boring. Besides, I'm not sure he had any idea what would happen." Her expression was somewhere between a smile and a grimace.

"I feel the same. I wouldn't have known anything weird happened if it hadn't been for us both zoning out and losing an hour. What about you?" She looked at him curiously. Oleander was not your run-of-the-mill human... but that might not have anything to do with the strange figures in the photographs.

"I felt nothing." Oleander said, and he trailed off. Whatever else, Oleander was not a man inclined to take unnecessary risks. His careful clean-up of their little murder was proof positive of that. But at the same time... He sighed. "I suppose if it's been a few hours now, it can wait till tomorrow."

Moon would be able to test them with his arcane senses then. And if Vincent Moon pronounced them fine, then that would have been the end of the matter. Either way, nothing else Oleander could do about it now except try and track down the elder vampire for a check-up now, which would have been counter-productive. And the two did seem fine. Oleander smiled -- not smirked, but actually smiled -- as he made a decision.

"Though." He said, putting an arm around her shoulder and brushing her cheek with his callused fingers. "I am a little hungry. What about you?"

Lauren nodded, "I have to deliver the samples tomorrow night anyway." Hopefully any possible changes that occurred didn't require immediate action. It didn't feel like it, anyway. She tried to push the unsettling events out of her mind, seeing as there was nothing she could do about them.

She felt the brush of Oleander's fingers against her cheek with such intensity that she shivered slightly. A combination of not expecting that, and not having felt that for a very long time. Lauren turned her head to look at him, and found an actual smile. That was new. It looked really good on him, and she couldn't help but smile back. "Yeah..." Lauren vividly recalled the exceptional taste of his blood. "I don't have anything for you to eat, though." She frowned.

"Yes you do." Oleander said, still smiling. It was, one had to admit, a very smug smile, but then Oleander had a great deal to be smug about. He curled his arm around her, stepping closer to her. He was only inches away from her, the blond hairs of his chest just brushing her blouse. The big, blond, beautiful man favored Lauren with a devastatingly direct look.

"And if you ask me very nicely," He said, the fingers of his other hand toying with the top button of her blouse. His other hand still held her close, and Lauren couldn't escape the fact that he was so very, very close, his muscled body there for the taking. "I'll let you have a bite too."

"Oh." Lauren's voice was rather strangled. He was so close, and so warm. And, it seemed, just as willing as she was. Considering the taste she'd gotten earlier, Lauren decided that Oleander's offer was quite fair.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, pressed herself against him, and used her position as leverage to kiss him. Lauren pulled away only slightly, still close enough to feel his breath on her lips. Her brown eyes stared into his, pupils dilated. "Please," she whispered, smiling slightly.

"I'll think about it." Oleander teased, still giving her that absolutely smouldering look. He licked his lips, still tasting the kiss she had left him. His eyes were ice-blue, and very pale, but there was no doubt that he was warm and vibrantly alive. He smiled back at her. "I'll definitely think about it."

"You'll have to try a little harder than that, though." Then there was a sudden movement, and Oleander dipped, hooking his arm behind Lauren's legs, and sweeping her quite literally off her feet. He was strong, this blond hulk, and he carried her as though she were made of flowers or glass. He took advantage of Lauren's momentary helplessness to kiss her back, lips firm against hers. "But you can do it."


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