How precariously thin that patience had become. Darcy's temper balancing upon that proverbial knife's edge as his mood seemed to darken with every passing moment. The very...strain of returning to the South had already soured his evening. To be surrounded by vampires outside their own coven had forced upon him an extra vigilance, one only furthered by the amount of eyes that seemed to linger with hunger upon his own mate as if they deserved even the privilege of looking upon her. Even Wyatt had allowed his eyes to rove Risque's figure in a fashion Darcy found...intolerable. Those darkly possessive instincts had spent most of the night clawing at his insides until they bled, desperate for some form of release that had seen him pick that veritable fight with Mary-Beth over that moonshine. How much of a fool did that Southern Belle believe him to be? Selling Moonshine was no easy task, even Moonshine that could intoxicate a vampire- if it even worked. Darcy finding himself doubtful of that product and yet, perhaps his Beloved might enjoy testing it out on both vampires and other species alike if only to observe its effects before they made any effort to sell it. After that rebranding, of course. Risque hardly wrong in her notion that 'Moonjuice' would turn buyers away with its name alone.
How readily that vampiric cowboy seized upon that singular and brief moment of reprieve they were afforded from their hosts. Mary-Beth and Wyatt no sooner having left that parlour in favour of the dining room then Darcy so shifted to step behind his mate, his lips eagerly finding that smooth, perfect flesh of her neck as if he craved that taste of her. Darcy seeking her touch in some desperate bid to soothe those clawing desires and conflicting instinct within himself. That possessive need drove those actions s determinedly and yet how desperately he tried to...withhold all the same. His gaze was ever-watchful of his lover all at once despite the affection within is touch. Risque, after all, was an ever precarious creature. One inclined to be as finicky as her feline companions. Darcy ever-wary of those precarious, subtle shifts within her mood that might yet see her own temper lash out towards him like the crack of a whip. Here and now however, Risque seemed more than tolerable of his touches, that vampirc woman inclined to lean back and into his own figure. That subtle gesture alone so coaxing that soft sound of satisfaction from the depths of his throat in a reverberation of pleasure . How quickly those more intimate desires rose within him. Her mere touch alone so utterly captivating to him! How utterly exquisite she was! His lips trailed smoothly upward and toward her ear then. Darcy offering those quiet words for Risques ears alone. If that Moonshine proved to do as Mary-Beth claimed then why not take it for themselves? Why afford that insufferable little dolt any of the satisfaction of a successful business venture when more money could be made by Syn itself and Mary-Beth cut from that equation like the cancer she was?
Darcy moved to shift ever so slightly backward only for Risque to turn and face him, that vampiric queen's finger moving to press agianst his chest before gliding smoothly, idly downward as she mused that very proposition. She acted as if she was hardly aware of how every fibre of his very being was so suddenly fixated upon that singular finger and its path. Darcy so expertly trained to respond to even the most fleeting touch of her affection. His thoughts entirely inclined to will that teasing finger to trail lower and lower still. The vampire hardly caring for where they were in that moment. Darcy's mismatched gaze glanced upward as Risque insisted she would like to wipe that smirk from Mary-Beths face. The thought of double-crossing that southern belle nothing short of satisfying. Risque lamented upon the notion that she was fortunate it was all she wished to take from her before moving to neatly turn from him and stride into that dining room- Darcy left entirely wanting and yet- he had anticipated just as much. Risque entirely prone to be....devilish when she chose. How very frustrating! Yet- how very much it was within her rights to be as such. Later tonight, perhaps, he might seek to see what mood could be coaxed from her. The vampire content instead to allow his gaze to linger upon her femanine physique as she strode from him all the same. Darcy moving at last to follow.
That dining table was nothing short of lavish in its decoration. So much of that estate so exactly has he remembered the South. The colours, the decoration, the scents- they had hardly changed. Mary-Beth as stuck in time as the house itself. Darcy moved to take that seat beside Risque, his own linen napkin unfolded and laid upon his lap as those servants bustled about to bring them that evening meal. The scent alone so already gave away that dish. One that Southern part of him decidedly relished to partake in and yet his gaze drifted subtly sideways all the same. Risque distinctly unlikely to take any pleasure in that meal. The lids were lifted from those dishes moments later. Wyatt, Mary-Beth and Darcy reaching eagerly for their spoons. That blood-stained soup nothing short of satisfying to Southern tastes. Darcy rarely inclined to partake in human food of any kind and yet he could hardly deny the pleasure he took in that meal. His gaze shifted sideways once more. Risque appearing to eye that meal with the sort of disdain so often reserved for those displeasing individuals who so often saw fight to waste her time of an evening within their bar back home. Darcy's efforts to inform her of the ingredients hardly serving to promote any satisfaction. The vampiric cowboy momentarily distinctly aware of the differences in those worlds they had been raised in. Darcy near loath for his mate to think of him as the farm boy he had been all those years ago. Risques blunt insistence that he could have her share prompted that obedient nod before he moved to reach for her bowl. Mary-Beth choosing that moment to attempt to further dig as Risque's disdain with that query on whether she desired more. That tension beginning to mount all over again.
How very unwise it was to goad Risque. Mary-Beth far more foolish then she was bold. Perhaps within the depths of the South Mary-Beth held her own reputation and yet the South was nothing like the City. Risque surely forged of something far more potent than cornfields and clean air with the ability to keep in line a coven made up of vampires hardly so tame as those soft country farm hands Mary-Beth seemed to employ. It was almost....intriguing to watch. Darcy's own decidedly protective instincts curtailed only by the knowledge that Risque was more than capable of handling herself. Besides, to interject in that femanine power play would be distinctly ...disrespectful. Risque sure to punish him for it. Darcy content to mind his place for now. Both women having become locked in that battle for dominance once more. Neither willing to be the first to look away. Darcy's own gaze shifted to Wyatt, meeting the other mans. Wyatt, unlike his mate, quick to look away in that subtle act of submission. How curious. The other vampire clearly unwilling to take on that fight as he made every effort to alleviate that tension once more with that prompt for his mate to entertain them. Darcy quick to firmly reject any ridiculous notion of his playing that piano. Mary-Beth, for her part, was hardly cowed. The woman hurrying to the piano with some sorry sod of a servant in tow before beginning a rendition of a SOuthern classic. Darcy visibly flinching the moment her voice broke that silence in its out of tune splendour.
Was it not enough he had suffered coming here at all? Were his ears truly forced to bleed too? Those words of disdain were barely uttered beneath his breath, Risque catching them all the same as she lent towards him with her own soft insistence she would shoot the fool of a woman herself. Darcy entirely inclined to afford her the gun she requested before Mary-Beth stamping at the ground seemed to signal the final fracture in his own mates composure. That sudden spike in power readily seemed to flow through that room. Risque stood in a single, fluid motion several moments later before striding toward Mary-Beth in a manner near predatory. Darcy's gaze hardly wavered from his lover then. That near predatory part of himself readily having seized upon that same intent within her. That near unfortunate human servant was far to slow to react. Risque's actions inhuman in their speed before the sound of snapping bone signalled the end of that musical performance. How intoxicatingly perfect she was within those granderus of violence. Darcy unable to deny that attraction that came from watching her destroy those lesser beings and yet- he had always been drawn to that side of her. That violent intent and chaotic resolve so incredibly ...attractive upon her.
Risque's demand that dinner was over readily prompted Darcy to rise from his own seat.. A singular glance toward Wyatt remaining the other man to remain in his own chair for now as Risque's heels clicked upon the floor and she strode toward mary-Beth. The power within the room rising all the more until Darcy could near taste it within the air- just like the night they had met. That vampiric cowboy so drawn towards his own mate once more like a moth to the flame. Risque's words were near aking to ice as she offered them toward that other coven leader. Darcy capable of feeling that power rise from Mary-Beth in turn to press back agianst Risque- both women once more locked in that veritable battle of wills and yet he could sense Mary-Beth faltering in turn. The other woman so at last beginning to think better of challenging Risque once more as a singular, prolonged silence seemed to sit heavily in that space in the wake of Risque's words. Darcy's own gazed remained upon the Southern Belle in turn. Mary-Beth dancing delicately along that pivotal moment of decision. Darcy more than ready to reach for that gun at his side if she chose poorly- Wyatt his own target in this. Risque, after all, would surely want mary-Beth to herself. The other woman's foot suddenly and abruptly stamped agianst the ground like a petulant child. Mary-Beth near whirling in place before storming from the room with a shriek of outrage. The sound of something shattering outside giving way to her mood as Darcy merely watched. The sound of a drawn, heavy sigh readily saw Darcy's attention shift to Wyatt then as the man rose from the table. I'll send those boys I promised up to you in a week, call it an apology for Mary-Beth, she can be...delicate sometimes.
"See dat yar do."
Wyatt, Darcy suspected, was a significant aspect behind Mary-Beths success in any business. The mild-mannered vampire knowing just when to keep those deals and final threads of 'friendship' in place. A servant appeared several seconds later carrying a case of that very moonshine only to offer it to Risque. Darcy's face contorted readily into a look of disgust, a hiss spat near cat-like from his lips before he strode over to that trembling servent. One hand reached out to slap the fool of a man across the head before Darcy reached to take that case himself.
"Yar dun go offering ladies heavy liftin' yar fuckin' idiot."
The man offered little more than a whimper before scampering off like a whipped dog. What sort of a fool expected a woman of Risque's status to carry a crate of Moonshine around? Wyatt said little of the transgression of his servant. The sound of mary-Beth continuing to obliterate the furniture upstairs prompting his eyes to lift and yet his attention shifted that final time to Darcy and Risque. What road are you taking back?
"Same as I took ta get 'ere, we 'eadin' back towards Atlanta way, down day forty-two."
They raise the bridge over the Chattahooche river after eight in the evening ta let them ferry boats through during the night. You can't go that way. You'll have to go around past Savannah, down near Jacksonville and up through Jakin to hit the Florida Georgia line and follow it up, do you know the road? Darc? Darcy?
The vampiric cowboys features had darkened considerably in the wake of that news. The sound of Darcy teeth grinding over one another echoing within that room again. Fucking ferry boats.
"Course I know it."
The words were snapped sharply in that ever-present drawl. Darcy brushing past Wyatt then to head for the car to load that crate, affording Risque those few moments to offer any parting words before they headed out. Fucking Jakin. Of all the towns they had to pass through it had to be that one. How many years had it been since he'd even seen that town? His hometown. If it was still as small as it had been back then they could blast through it in under five minutes. Darcy stride toward the passenger side door then, opening it smoothly for Risque as she strode from the house before moving to settle himself in the driver's seat. The rev of that car engine drowning out whatever pleasantries Wyatt was trying to offer as mary-Beth slammed shut the upstairs window above. Darcy threw the car into reverse, the wheels squealing backwards as that dust rose into the night before he shifted gears once more to send that car screaming into the darkness and down that drive back towards the highway. Darcy, this time, forced to take that left turn that took them deeper and deeper into that Southern country. His face a veritable storm cloud. The man more than aware of the eyes of his mate upon him. Risque knew he was from 'around' these parts, he'd ever given her the name of the town specifically, after all, what the hell had it mattered? She didn't care and he'd had no plans to go back. He still damn well didn't.
"I dun like dis road dats all. Turns in ta dirt in da next few miles and dares nutin but cattle, sheep, corn and dust out 'ere."
It was a poor excuse at best for his mood and yet it was true to an extent. He hated this road. If it wasn't flooded or full of holes there was bound to be some cow laying in the middle of it somewhere. It hadn't changed in a fucking century. Nothing in this place changed- and to think- this.....this shit hole of a road that leads to a shit hole of a town was all his parents had ever wanted for him. Darcy, after all those years, near forced to admit he was still angry. At that town, at that road, at his parents. All of them. Maybe if they went fast enough through it he wouldn't even have to see it. The very thought alone seeing the vampire shift gears again to pick up a level of speed far beyond that recommended limit and yet why not enjoy what remained of actual road before it gave way to dirt? In the very least they had a few miles before they had to face Jakin in any form. This the last place he had ever had any desire to bring Risque or remind her he was from. His thoughts inclined to shift back to that dinner.
"We can find someone decent ta eat soon as we back in Atlanta. It ain't common out 'ere ta serve just blood like back 'ome. It's cause dare ain't enough people. 'Efore I met you and when I was still a newborn vampire I was livin' near a ranchin' town. Da whole town only had twenty people an it was da only town for miles. Dare was a small coven livin' near it. Day couldn't risk killin' dem humans ta feed cause dare ain't none ta replace 'em. So day jus bleed a couple of dem every week, mix da blood wit food, stop dem feelin' hungry. Let da humans recover den do it again. Dats why da blood comes in food 'ere."
It was, if nothing else, an explanation for that soup. Those deep country parts of the South simply lacking the prey to make frequent feeding and killing a viable option for the vampires living out here. Slaughtering an entire town just for a good meal meant they would be forced to travel further and further and further every time they felt hungry.
"I stared followin' da war again after dat. Never a shortage of blood den. Humans are like cattle. Yar gotta keep a herd of am out here. It's kinda like if i wanted ta raise dem Angus cattle fa beef. Yar gotta breed ta replacement every year, dat means keepin' dem heifers and gettin' rid of dem bull calfs save for one or two so dat it'ss economical for da feed an...."
That singular sideways glance and the very look upon Risque's features saw his words abruptly halt. Farming, it seemed, hardly a topic Risque found intriguing in any sense. Darcy merely reaching over to turn the radio back on then in some further effort to hide that ...reluctance he had in travelling this road at all. That paved road, as he had warned, abruptly ran out less then a mile later. Darcy forced to shift the suspension in that car and slow the speed enough to navigate that dust and dirt. The countryside having become more and more barren and dry. Little save for cattle and corn surrounding them now. The uninterrupted night sky at least affording them a sight of those stars above. The further along that road they travelled the more and more Darcy so began to shift near downward in his seat. That peeling, white wooden sign that proudly welcomed them to Jakin in the middle of fucking nowehere seeming to prompt the man to sink lower again and yet speed up all at once. Darcy staunchly refusing to look away from the road and toward any of those surrounding farms or ranches or that small, winding dirt road that lead away from the town center with all its five buildings toward that ranch up on the hill, its windmill still visible agianst that star-draped sky, that he had once called home.
The sudden explosion of a police siren seemed to veritably snap the man from his thoughts. Darcy oblivious to how truly fast he had been going in an effort to escape the town. His efforts not to look anywhere but the road having assured he hardly noticed that town sheriff on his motorbike. His gaze shifted upward to glance in the rearview mirror, that ancient looking motorcycle surely easy enough to outrun.....if the road wasn't made of potholes. This car hardly designed for the winding gravel and dirt road that lay ahead- at least not at the speed required to flee a policeman. Darcy's mismatched gaze shifted towards his lovers once more.
"Yar fancy a snack? Might 'as well eat the damned prick while I change da car inta somethin' dats gonna take dis road better."
He waited only so long as it took Risque to nod before he moved to pull that car over. The motorbike stopped several feet behind, the sheriff swinging down from it as Darcy wound down that drivers side window with every intention of waiting for the man to walk close enough to strike him down and sate Risque's own hunger. The sheriff having barely reached that window when that singular, potent sent seemed to find him. A vampire? The sheriff was a vampire?
Risque, in turn had likely become aware of that scent. This man no longer a viable meal source, Darcy so bracing himself for a true battle now. That vampire sheriff hardly having looked within that car as he scribbled busily on his notepad. Sir, are you aware dat we are a safe drivin' town? Here in Jakin we is committed to the safety of our citizens and we ask that all road users maintain a speed as deemed to be safe by the local government authority, section seven, paragraph nine. I have printed it here sir, for yar convenience. Sir, are you aware dat you was travlin' at a speed outside what we deem safe here in the good town of Jakin? I- VAN DELLEN? Darcy's own head snapped suddenly sideways at the sound of his last name, his true last name, his mismatched gaze eyeing that sheriff warily now as the other man pulled off his helmet to reveal that dusty brown hair and green eyes Darcy hadn't seen in nearly two centuries. Not since the Gettysburg. That recognition dawning within his own gaze before he could hide it. Clay Matthews. Darcy was barely given the chance to speak before Clay all but lent inside the car. It's been years! Years! We thought you was never comin' back! Have ya come to take back yar daddys ranch? It's still there, up on da hill. Damn but da others will be glad to see ya. Is dat yar missus? Its a pleasure ta meet ya ma'am. Ain't every day one of Jakin's favourite sons comes home.
We are rough men and used to rough ways.