Nicholas laid beside Alana, rehashing his earlier conversation with Chris. The officer was right. He couldn’t keep this up. Draining her blood, her energy to make her ask to be turned was wrong. He’d gone into this wanting her to make her own choice. What had changed? Why was it so important to him that she leave her human side behind just to be with him?
Didn’t he love feeling the warmth her body so generously provided? Didn’t the steady beat of her heart lull him to sleep every morning? Didn’t he enjoy the tangle of pure human emotion she dealt with every day of her life? Not that he liked the turmoil she was going through. Far from it. In fact he hated it. But peering in on her thoughts reminded him what it was like to be human.
Why change that? Even he had to admit he’d miss it.
“Alana?” he asked. “Are you awake?”
“Barely,” she mumbled. She turned over in the bed to face him. “You wore me out tonight. All I can think about now is sleep.”
“Sleep will come. First I need to tell something.”
Alana raised up on her elbow and frowned. “Has something happened? Did Chris have bad news?”
“No, nothing like that. This is about us.” Alana fell back on the pillow and sighed. “It’s not what you think,” he said, caressing her face with the back of his hand. She looked up at him, tears already in her eyes. “Don’t cry, love. I’m not going to ask you to turn your life over to me anymore. I realize now that I have been selfish. I have been heartless as well. I should have respected your feelings and left it.”
The tears rolled down her cheeks. Relief washed over her like a warm blanket. The weight was finally lifted from her shoulders. She wrapped her arms around him, pulling his body to hers. “Thank you, Nicholas.” She looked into his eyes. Could he really accept her as human? “Are you sure about this?”
“I have never been more sure of anything.”
“You can accept me this way? You can deal with me growing older?”
“I can,” he said firmly. Then he decided to do something he never thought he would. “I will grow old with you.”
Alana’s voice left her. She’d heard what he said, but surely she hadn’t heard it right. “How? What in the world?” she stuttered. “Is that even possible?”
“Of course it is,” he chuckled. “Not even we stop aging.”
“But how? You’re immortal. You can’t age.”
“No, I’m not,” he said. He kissed her forehead and laid back down beside her. “Immortal is one who cannot be killed. I can be killed. Not by a great many things, but I can die.”
“And the aging?” Nicholas looked no older than her, though she knew he was at least 100 or more years her senior.
“A simple change in diet, love. That’s all.”
“Meaning what? You stop drinking blood?”
“Not at all. I just don’t drink as much.”
“Won’t that be bad for you?”
“No. It’s not like I’ll age overnight. It will happen gradually. I’ll remain strong. I’ll remain powerful, but my body will begin to age.” He laughed at the confusion he saw on her gorgeous face. “Make me a promise. I will grow old with you, but in return I ask that you share your blood with me from time to time.” Her upper lip curled. “Not every night, Alana. Just every now and then.”
“Why mine? Don’t you have places to go for that?”
“There are, but I’m giving you my word now, I’ll never take blood from a warm body other than yours again. From this point on I will survive on donor blood only.”
“Will it hurt?” As much as she wanted to say no, she realized he wasn’t asking much at all.