It was that singular word. A sharp utterance of his name so laced with a near warning tone that seemed to ensnare his attention all at once as that idiot servant fled from before him, leaving Darcy with that crate of moonshine as his mismatched gaze returned promptly to his lover. Risque's words, as exquisite and femanine as they always were in that haunting perfection, implied her ready displeasure in him having taken up that servants task in that singular moment. The vampire inclined to admit that she was right. He should have made that imbecile carry the crate to the car- even if the fool risked scratching that vehicle with his carelessness. Darcy's head merely nodded for now in that silent, willing acceptance of her chastisement, the man unlikely to forget her preference for such things as they made their way out amidst Mary-Beth's ongoing temper tantrum upstairs. Insufferable fucking woman. How Wyatt dealt with her at all he hardly knew. Risque returned to the car ahead of him, her silver-tipped heels quickly becoming dull from the dust upon the ground as she moved to fish out those 'gifts' from the trunk of the car. Wyatt, in his useless, pathetic efforts to continue to smooth over that tension began to query just which road Darcy intended to take home. As if he needed fucking directions. The vampires sudden insistence, however, that the bridge had been raised and that their would be forced to travel further around and through several shit-hole towns only readily seemed to darken Darcy's mood. The singular mention of the town of Jakin seeming to coax a look outright stormy to the mans features. Stupid damn roads. Bloody fucking Jakin. That drive was going to be longer, those roads worse, the time of night, perhaps, the only small mercy they were about to receive. The vast majority of the townsfolk likely to be sleeping.
Risque, ever impatient to return to the car that would deliver her back to her city, was quick to insist they could follow the GPS in the car. Darcy unwilling to correct her with that notion of lacking signal or reception. She was already displeased, her mood precarious and best not further worsened. Darcy, after so many years, having come to recognise those subtle shifts in her demeanor from near tone alone. Her patience for Wyatt already precariously thin as she thrust that bag toward the vampiric man. Darcy moved to pivot on his heel. The southern cowboy all but storming back toward that car as Risque finished with her goodbyes- and parting instructions for the apology she wished to receive. Darcy, for once, paid little heed to her requests and those final promises Wyatt made. His own thoughts turned firmly upon that upcoming drive and the utter disdain he felt at being forced to drive through that country he'd left behind. As if that dinner had not been a disaster enough. As if the world was determined to force him to make a fool of himself in front of his mate by offering her some insight into that man he had been, all those years ago. A man he would sooner forget.
His gaze shifted briefly from that distant horizon and towards Risque's slender, femanine figure. Her own eyes, that pale, near hypnotic blue seemed to meet his gaze for a moment. That singular look giving away her suspicions of his own mood. She was like a shark inclined to sense but even the faintest drop of blood in the water. How he adored her for it and yet...how he near resented it now. A single scratch upon that metaphorical armour was all she needed to draw at the blood beneath. Risque, he was sure, having zeroed in on his mood already. It was only a matter of time before she pressed upon it, twisted it, demanded it from him. How long she chose to bid her time was at her own discretion. Darcy waited only so long as it took his lover to settle beside him before that engine roared to life. The wheels sputtered in reverse, gravel sent flying as Darcy all but fled that plantation home with as much speed as those roads would permit. In the very least he was content to leave those other vampires behind. The way they looked at his mate, the way they let their eyes rover over her figure was ...irritating. His own jealous, his possessiveness, refusing to tolerate it. Risque so firmly his even if he was hardly fool enough to breath a whisper of that possession to the vampiric Queen herself. Darcy having learned, long ago, just what she would tolerate and what she would not on most occasions. Risque so having a habit of teaching those lessons ...memorably.
He was near oblivious to hoe tightly clenched his jaws had become and the way his hands gripped at that steering wheel with more force than necessary. The feeling of his lovers eyes upon him so at last forcing that excuse from his lips. He hated that road. It was true. Despite how veritably flimsy that excuse was. Risque hardly likely to accept it and yet she remained silent then, her nail tapping contemplatively at the car window. He seized that moment then, as if attempting to dissuade her thoughts away from him and back onto that food she had disliked intently. The vampire attempting to explain the reason for it- even if Risque so rarely cared for reasons in any sense. Her sudden query on his excitement over the 'salt water' and chicken and whether or not he found it filling promoted his jaw to loosen slightly. Darcy ran his tongue over his fangs contemplatively, toying with the tip of one of those doubled knives he called teeth before his shoulders offered a loose shrug, that answer he gave honest, if nothing else.
"I grew up eatin' dat sorta ting. It fills me stomach, stops me feelin 'ungry but it only takes da edge offa dat want fa blood in truth. Ain't ya got dat 'uman food ya still like? Like dem sweet tings I seen ya eat dat time, dem....claires?"
In all the years he had been by her side he had never asked, truly, what human food she cared for, after all, it was decidedly rare either of them partook in it. That soup he had eaten tonight, along with that chicken, were hardly necessary. They did little but mimic that sensation of feeling full with just enough blood to take that edge off until the next meal and yet he could hardly deny he had liked it. Those humans tastes, after all, never truly faded even if those vampiric desires often overshadowed them. Darcy certain he remembered having seen Risque eat those pastries, once, several years ago. The woman seeming to have enjoyed them. Darcy having smelled that sugary sweetness that surrounded them. An ...unusual choice for his lover and yet he hardly questioned it. Such was not his place. Risques insistence that she hardly trusted Wyatt's directions was met with a nod then. His voice holding no lack of assurance.
"Dun worry, Darlin' I know dis road. I knew where we goin' witout dat fools directions."
His own hands shifted on those gears then, readying the car to move from that paved, tared road and onto that dirt, pot-hole filed path of depravity they were destined to spend half the night on. His efforts to continue to explain that lack of blood in the Southern, more rural states, seemed to prompt some abject horror in his mate. Risque all but gaping at him then before asking after that lack of blood. Darcy offered dat shake of his head then. She had known of his past- at least those more potent parts of it and yet he had left out a number of those smaller, more finite details. She had ever asked after them and he had seen no need to bring them up. This moment within the car so seeming to prompt that conversation he had attempted to avoid for centuries.
"Dare was nearly never anyone ta drain, sometimes ya had to travel fa miles and miles to find someone and den ya 'ad ta find shelter before da sun came up. Ain't nuttin but fields out 'er. Shelter from da sun was damn near as rare as dem people. Dat's why we only fed a little bit, left dem alive, slept and fed again. Dat's why we mix da blood wit food, make it last longer. I was fuckin hungry all da fuckin time. Idda given me left arm to 'ave drained someone."
That irritation seemed to flare once more. Darcy, it seemed, still very much holding some...resentment over those early years of his vampiric life. Over those limitations he'd been forced, by necessity, to endure. Risque he been the first to show him those ...proper meals. To show him how to live properly, to feed the ay he deserved to feed. Risque, to his mind, the very thing that had silenced those gnawing pains of hunger within him. How she had fed him too- in more ways then one. Her words nothing but true as she commented upon that lack of blood so limiting potential.
" 'Efore I met ya I ain't even know I could do dat ting wit me eyes. I was too 'ungry ta know."
That ability he possessed, perhaps the most deadly in his arsenal, to drop any being with merely a glance had only fully come to fruition beneath his Mistress and that constant supply of food. Risque having proven her own words. No vampire could do as they were destined to do without a near constant blood supply to feed upon. His lover's sentiment that she had done Mary-Beth and Wyatt a favour with the death of their servant was met with that simple nod of agreement. No part of that servant would be wasted in the very least. Isque having gifted them a rare chance to gorge themselves on blood even if she had hardly intended it. The road beneath the car shifted then, dust and dirt rising beneath the tyres, Darcy forced to decrease his speed and yet he continued to press that car forward far faster then any human would be capable of navigating. His vampiric reflexes and control of every part of that machine assuring a near mastery of that terrain beneath even if the thought of driving closer and closer to that fucking town continued to plague his mind. His effort to explain those cattle hardly seemed to delight his mate in any sense. Risque insisting vampires were Hunters and not Farmers as he turned that radio on in some effort to distract his own thoughts. His lover, for now, seemingly satisfied with eyeing the stars above .
That sign that announced they had arrived in Jakin was all but ignored. Darcy pressing that car as much as he was able to all but blow right through that town. Fucking dirt roads. That car was, admittedly, beginning to struggle. Something with a better suspension, higher undercarriage and larger tyres would have made for a far smoother ride. Any further thoughts he had on the notion were interrupted by the sudden flashing of blue and red lights. A hiss of disdain all but spat from his lips then. This the last fucking place he wanted to stop and yet....that policeman might at least provide Risque with a meal or a toy to play with while he made some adjustments to the car. His gaze shifted to his lover then with that suggestion, Risque offering her acceptance of the idea as Darcy allowed the car to slow. That motorbike policeman parking several feet behind them before swimming off that bike to come forward. Darcy's fingers found that window button, allowing the glass to roll down as his lips pulled back from his teeth in readiness for that attack. Until a singular, potent sent seemed to strike him near several seconds before reaching Risque in turn. A vampire. The policeman was a fucking vampire.
That hiss from Risque at her own realisation of the fact was met with a sigh from himself. Darcy's teeth grinding over one another as the idiot began to lecture him about speed or cars or...something. Darcy contemplating ripping his head from his shoulders all the same before that sudden use of his last name so his own head snap sideways. Years. It had been years since he had last seen Clay. Any effort Darcy might have made to voice any word was cut short by Clay leaning into the car was overzealous excitement. The man positively beside himself with apparent glee at Darcy's return. His own mood rapidly and dangerously darkening. Risque seeming to latch onto his discomfort and Clay's delight with a deadly, serpentine ease. How she delighted in making him squirm, in picking at the wounds of the past he was more content to leave closed. Her voice finding a falsified interest and pleasantness as she spoke of those cattle and her desire to see that Ranch. A home and a place he had long since abandoned and forgotten. Her sudden query on whether or not he intended to introduce her was far more command then true suggestion. Her voice breaking his silent condemnation of that entire night. That delight at his displeasure all but shinone within her gaze then and yet- was it not her right to demand things of him? Even if it displeased him? Darcy's teeth near ground over each other once more as his gaze shifted from his mate to that expectant Clay and back again. That veritable defeat forced upon him- for now.
"Clay, dis is me Mate, Risque Voth. Risque, dis is Clay Matthews- I was in da war wit 'im and I went ta school wit 'im when we was kids."
Clay, true to the Southern Hospitality, was quick to hold his hand out to Risque in an effort to shake it, the policeman whistling that low, appreciating whistle. Aww, but she sure is swell, Darc. Now how'd you get a girl dat looks like dis? She so outta your league. That teasing grin was flashed towards Risque then. Clay so attempting to be complementary and yet he only grated agianst Darcy's nerves here and now. The sudden feel of Risque's hand on his leg prompted his attention sideways, Darcy's mismatched gaze met her own then as she insisted they go and take back his ranch- an excuse to stretch her legs. Her words, presented as a suggestion, far more inclined to be a demand for what she had decided she wished to do.
"As ya wish."
The words were very near hissed between his teeth. Darcy forcing that obedience from himself even despite that sheer disdain he felt in the idea. Begging Risque not to go would be...weak of him. Darcy refusing to appear as that in the eyes of his beloved. There would be nothing left to see, he was sure of it. She would lose interest and they could leave. Clay, his excitement hardly dampened, seemed all the more delighted at the thought. "The ranch is closed up this time o'night but I can give you a key, the old caretaker is still up dare in the cottage, just tell him Clay said you two could have a look around.
"Da caretaker? Someones livin' dare?"
Oh sure, your place is on of dem historic ranches now, ya can go on a tour an everything. Hey, day even got a tour 'bought you. Da Ghost of Gettysburg! You famous round dese parts. Hey, hey! We havin' a shindig tonight at the Custler's barn. You wanna come? Everyone would love to see ya Darc. Ya can bring ya missus and everytin. Roscoe won't mind."
"Who da fuck is Roscoe?"
He's me Maker, dis town is part-a his coven now. Dun go killin' no one ya hear. So ya comin' tonight? Go on, say ya will. Yar missus will love it.
Risque, he suspected, would not love it and yet he could near see that intrigue in her gaze. Whether or not she delighted in the thought of his own increasing disadain or merely found some perverse interest in seeing a truly Southern coven he hardly knew.
"Fine. Is dat Boot Barn on da Old Road still 'ere?"
Oh yeah, dat's still there. Marlene runs it now, its still open too. I'll tell da others your coming!
Clay pulled away from the car only to run back toward his motorcycle as Darcy pulled away from the curb once more, the sound of Darcy's teeth grinding over one another echoing in the car and yet he remained distinctly silent as he turned that car further into the town and toward the singular and only building on that main street that still had lights on. Darcy easily pulled the car to a stop then, the vampire moving in a rush of speed to open Risque's door and let her out and onto that ...dusty road that claimed to be the main street of Jakin. Darcy led the way to the door of that store then. The entire store filled to the brim with boots, hats, riding gear, leather and country clothing. The leather, in the least, might yet please his mate.
"Ya can't wear dem shoes up to da ranch, Darlin'. Day will get ruined. Let me find ya some boots."
Darcy lifted one hand to gesture towards the rows upon rows of cowboy boots. These were not the sorts of boots he suspected Risque had ever owned before. Any reaction his lover might have had to those shoes however went unnoticed as a young blonde woman strode out from behind the counter in denim short shorts, a tartan shirt and pink cowboys boots. This, he suspected, the Marlene that Clay had mentioned. "May oh my I never have customers this late, how can I help you folks?"
"Me Mate needs some o' dem boots, we goin up to me Ranch an- Risque?"
Does she know dat stuff's for 'orses?
Darcy moved to follow Marlene as she pointed towards the far end of the store, Risque having taken an interest in that wall of bridles, whips, hobbles, chains and ...equine restraint equipment. Hmmm. Perhaps he should have anticipated that. Darcy allowed that faint simper to touch his lips then before his gaze returned to Marlene. Her human heart beat was so ...wonderfully tempting. The vampire forced to control his own urges for now.
"Show me what yar got in a size eight."
Do you want me to show you what I got in jeans and shirts too? Honey, that girl ain't gonna make it one night on a ranch wearing that.
"Yar arlgiht but I dun reckon you got anyting she gonna like."
She's skinny as a bean pole, we'll be lucky if we got sumthin' dat fits her. Here, try these for shoes, I'll be back in a minute with some clothes.
Marlene moved to hand him that pair of riding boots then, the black leather, at least, might appeal to her and prevent Risque ruining the shoes she wore now. Darcy moved to wander toward Risque then as she continued to browse the equestrian section with a clear intrigue. Those bridles and hobbles and girth straps, he was inclined to admit, far more likely to hold a victim then anything bought at those intimate stores designed for human interaction. Darcy held those shoes out towards her then.
"All dis is for 'orses, Darlin. Here, try dese, if you dun like 'em yar can pick sumthin else."
We are rough men and used to rough ways.