He could near see those thoughts turning within the very depths of her wicked mind. His request, it seemed, had given her pause for thought. Its boldness, its audacity, were more then he so normally permitted of himself. After all, it was not his place to question her actions, much less make demands of her for his own wants and yet surely with that newfound status as mates he might be permitted, once a year, to make but one request? That modd between them was ever precarious, ever balanced upon a veritable knife's edge. The both of them prone to those temperamental mood swings. Darcy, here and now, eternally watchful of his lover should she decide she took some measure of disdain in his desires and seek to lash out at him, sending them both into some spitting, hissing furore that was far more feline then he cared to admit. Her features remained near unreadable in that moment as her thoughts continued to turn that idea about within the depths of her mind. Darcy, in turn, merely allowed his gaze to shift downward to eye those boots once more. She looked....delectable within them. Surely she had to realise just how irresistible she was in that attire? That silence seemed to continue to stretch. Darcy, in the wake of that request, content to remain submissively silent while she decided upon it. The vampiric cowboy near taken aback at her sudden agreement, flippant though it was. This was the first time she had ever truly....permitted his desires, let alone agreed to allow him to lead those intimate encounters beyond attempting to coax that mood from her on those nights he found himself wanting. Such things were always her terms, always when she desired to allow it. To agree to afford him a single night in which he might be allowed to guide that interaction was....unheard of.
How he could hardly help that simper that found his lips near immediately in response. The mere thought of that night he had been promised already dancing about within his thoughts. He would not forget the promise made here tonight. That very affection he possessed for his lover seeming to increase all the more at her graciously given permission even if a part of the man near suspected she would be unwilling to truly relinquish that control when the moment came. It was not her way, after all. His thoughts were ner consumed by that very evening, Darcy hardly anticipating that second question on what else he might desire, the vampire eyeing his mate near warily now in anticipation of a trap perhaps. How she seemed to relish in ensnaring those around her with her words, in leading them to their veritable demise with their own mistakes even if she, all along, so tended to guide them. Darcy, here and now, left searching for that hidden ruse. He had asked enough of her already. He was hardly fool enough to seek more and yet her gaze near cut agianst him with its clear expectation. The man uttering that near trained response he knew she both desired and expected. Darcy reassuring her that she alone was enough. It was true, after all. He needed nothing but her. He had told it to her time and time again. Those extra words rose from his own throat near unbidden. An admittance perhaps, that a part of him desired she might return those words of affection, one day. He had been at her side well over a century, he had shared her bed more times then he could count. His entire immortality had been so designed to meet her every whim and want in that eternal pursuit for her affection. Darcy craving her attention above all. The vampire having comitted more acts of genocide then he cared to count in pursuit of her attenions upon himself alone and yet....she had never once returned that sentiment of love.
He had assured himself over and over that she surely felt it. That he was surely her most favoured. Her mate. The only one that bond so permitted her to love and yet that lack of her voice uttering those very syllables still gnawed at his gut. A persisting, continual reminder that she had not admitted to any such feeling even if he was assured it existed. Those emotions, if that's what they were, a near direct contrast to that veritable urge to obey her all at once, to refuse to ask her to love him back when she had every right to deny him such a thing if she chose. She fell near agonizingly silent in that wake of that utterance even as he so attempted to shrug it aside as if it meant nothing. Her painful silence was near akin to a slap in turn, the man flinching internally even if he hardly displayed it outwardly. That silence seemed to stretch on and on. Darcy, this time, keeping his gaze upon the darkness ahead of them. The vampire hardly anticipated those sudden words. Risque insisted she had declared him her mate publically. That she had rejected all others. Those offers long ago having ceased in the wake of Darcy's 'promotion' and that, surely, that was enough. The vampiric Queen insisted she would speak of it no more.
Whatever words the cowboy had so considered offering were readily silenced as he piloted that car forward. A small part of the man so left to consider why it was she could so openly admit that commitment to others....but not himself- and yet how quick he was to silence those thoughts and cast them aside. She was his mate and his alone. He could ask for nothing more significant then that. It was foolish of him to ever dare too. He had surely overstepped his boundary- he would not do so again. They drove into the very depths of that darkness then. The stars overhead seemed to grow all the more vibrant with that lack of city light, the country air was cold, crisp, sharp on his nose and throat and yet he continued to breath only for that mixture of scents so...familiar and long forgotten that came with such an exercise. He relished that darkness, that open space and yet how he abhorred it in turn. Abhorred himself- for enjoying it. He had left this life so far behind and he had no desire to return to it. Risques sudden question prompted his gaze to shift back to his mate once more. Darcy left eyeing her curiously again as she queried what....love was. For several long moments the man hardly strove to answer. Risque, surely, having....taken leave of her senses to ask such a thing. What was love? Who the fuck knew the answer to that? Was she truly asking him? Did she expect an answer? Did he even know? That air he'd been breathing was exhaled in a sigh. Fuck he hated those memories.
"Me granmama told me once dat yar can always tell if yar love somethin' when yar close yar eyes. Den, yar picture dat ting dat yar love real clear like. Den....yar imagine dem bein' gone. Yar imagine not bein' able ta talk to 'em or see 'em, yar tink of what it would be like if day jus wasn't around and if dat thought....'urts a lil bit den dat means yar love 'em."
His grandmother had perhaps been the only member of his family he was willing to admit he had once held any scrap of care for. Even if sharing that memory brought him little pleasure in turn. She was dead and gone, like the rest of them, remembering her hardly did him any good and yet that question of what love was still seemed to irritate him.
"I guess dat means its somthin' dat 'urts. Maybe it's like dat tree. Did day 'ave dat tree in dat France place yar come from? Its like dis tree dat dis little kid plays underneath and da tree keeps 'im all shady while he plays. Den when da kid gets older da tree lets 'im climb in da branches, den da kid gets older again and da tree gives 'im apples ta feed 'is family. Now da kid, he dun come round much anymore, but da tree still waits for 'im. Den one day da kid comes back and he's all grown up and da tree gives 'im 'is branches ta build a roof, den it give him it's trunk ta make a house and den da tree is only a stump but its all 'appy cause da man is 'appy. Den years later da man comes back an he's all old and he uses day stump ta sit on and rest and he's 'appy and da tree is 'appy cause he came back an dat supposed ta be about love cause it means when yar love someone yar.....give em apples and shit."
Darcy's own features frowned in a clear confusion. The vampire far more...confused about his own story then he'd anticipated. The man never truly having understood that story to begin with. That explanation seeming even less clear now. That trees sacrifice for the being it loved somewhat lost of the vampire- to an extent. Darcy so hardly dared to look at Risque for fear of that very look he was sure he was going to receive in turn. The man falling silent as they drove further and further up that hill and towards that ranch he had left behind so long ago. That shit hole of a farm so hardly having changed much. It was as wooden and dusty and...old has it had been back then. The sides worn with weather and sun. The tin roof gone rusted in parts. The outhouse door still swung loosely in the breeze, its hinges squeaking in protest. Darcy wa quick to park that truck and move to his lovers door to open it with obedient care. He could only hope she would lose interest quickly, her mood sullied by dust and dirt and yet the vampire woman appeared...almost fascinated. Darcy was quick to gesture to that main house, the outhouse, the stables and chicken coop behind with the rest of those fenced in fields all around stretching for miles. There was nothing to see. There never had been. His Mistress' sudden question in regards to that outhouse prompted his mismatched gaze to shift towards that very building with disdain and a near...reluctance to explain its use.
"Darlin', its da toilet. Dare ain't no sink, we used ta keep a bucket o'water outside for 'and washin'. Da river is jus down over dat way- we used dat for washin'."
He had already anticipated that look of horror upon his lovers face. Darcy inclined to feel that disdain for his family rise once more like bile within the back of his throat. How he....hated to admit where he had come from, what he had been- before Risque. Before she had rescued him from this wretched life. His lovers command to be shown all of it so hardly improved the vampiric cowboys mood. Risque so hardly giving away her thoughts as he led the way up to the house and onto the wound verednah that creaked and groaned beneath their weight. How long had it been since he'd opened this door? He'd sworn up and down he was never coming back and yet....here he was. If only his parents had lived to see the day- they'd have hated what he'd become and how damn much he liked that thought. Darcy was quick to light that fire and flood the small room with dim light and ready warmth as Risque seemed to take her time in examination of that tiny room with its dilapidated furniture and uneven floor. Darcy's own gaze roved over it with no small measure of disdain. Each imperfection and dust covered trimming holding within it a plethora of memories that threatened to spill out from that decidedly dark place in his mind they were kept. Servents? She was asking about servants? Darcy was momentarily snapped from his train of thought but that query and the utter bafflement upon his lovers features.
"Dare ain't no servants. I was da fuckin' servant. Me Ma and me sister worked in 'ere all day, cookin and sewin', me Pa and I worked da fields and da animals. He used ta wake me 'efore dawn ta bring in da cows an milk 'em, den we 'itched up da 'orses and started in da fields. It took all day, didn't matter if it was rainin' or burnin', I was eight years old and I was doin 'ourteen 'ours a day- an we still never 'ad no money. Me 'ands was always covered in blisters."
Risque, he suspected, had already worked out that they had no money. That house alone surely gave way to that. Darcy fell silent once more as his gaze shifted up to that family portrait. One of the few times his Mother had forced them into their Sunday best for that photograph. His sister had still been alive then, before the outbreak of the civil war. In all the years he'd know his lover he was near sure he'd never heard her use that tone of voice before. Her words almost....sincere and yet- that sincerity only further fueled that aborrhence he felt for that home and family he'd left behind- if even Risque pitied him. His head simply shook as his gaze shifted to meet her own in that dim firelight.
One hand lifted to gesture loosely out that smudged, stained window on the far side of the house, one that looked down into a cluster of trees and a small grouping of headstones that rose, cold and desolate, out of the equally despondent ground.
"Me older brother died 'efore I was born, he ain't even make it ta his first birthday, me little sister died o da Scarlett Fever, she was only bout eleven. Me Pa drunk 'imself ta death eventually and me Ma- I dun know what 'appened ta 'er. I never even knew when she died. I didn't care. I still don't. I 'ope day all fuckin' went ta 'ell."
Those words were hardly spoken loudly and yet they near dripped with venom. That hate within his voice so toxic it was almost potent as his gaze jerked away from that family plot within the distance. Darcy hardly addressed that fifth headstone that rested there. He already knew what was written on it. He hardly cared to see it, let alone discuss it. He was almost thankful for Risque's distraction as she declared she could smell that intruder who lingered. The caretaker. Though why in the hell anyone would bother to care for this he hardly knew. The vampire not truly surprised to find he lacked any sense of....territorialism over that place. He had never wanted it then, he didn't want it now, the man inclined to feel protective over the single and only thing within that home worth protecting. Risque herself. The low growl tat rose within Risques throat saw his own attention shift in search of some unforeseen predator only for his lover to suddenly....speak of the past. In a way she never did. In a way she never had before. In all the years he'd been at her side she never spoke of her family- beyond the occasional mention of her brother. That tale was unexpected,Risques world so...different from his own. The woman speaking of a begger- and her outraged Father, Risque hardly declaring what lesson she'd learned from that experience and yet it was hardly that which Darcy seemed to focus on in turn.
"Dat beggar man....why did ya get 'im bread?"
Why hadn't she just sent him away? Darcy's mind near unable to process the idea of his beloved....sharing food with street vagabond. The very notion that her human self might have held ideals unlike her vampiric one had hardly occurred to him at that moment. He was hardly given any chance to think further upon that story when the sound of another approaching saw both vampires near pivot in place with predatory ease. Risque near teasing in her insistence she remained ever curious of Darcy himself as that door finally opened to admit a truly....aged man. Such disappointing prey. A growl of irritation inclined to rise within his throat and yet the wobbly old fool hardly seemed to hear it as he held his torch higher. His old eyes clearly needing more than that fire to see by as the torch light finally shone on Darcy's face alone. Why, your the spitting image of-
Those words were near snapped, the elderly man jolting slightly in surprise as one hand reached to fix his glasses. If he was put out by being faced with two vampires he so hardly appeared it as he merely shuffled further into that house, shutting the door behind him to keep that warmth in. Clay told me someone was coming. I don't normally do tours this late but I have the time. This is the Van Dellen Family Ranch established in the late seventeen hundreds and farmed by the same family for several generations. The Ranch is now cared for by the Jakin community. We are standing in what would have been the main living space for the family in the early eighteen hundreds. Ranching life was very hard during that time. Whole families often lived in one or two rooms. The Van Dellan family was small. The first born son died in infancy, their young daughter died before her teenage years leaving only one son to continue the ranch. Our story is interesting here. Most father's left ranches to their sons but in the case of the Van Dellan family, we understand from historical records that the surviving son abandoned the family to join the civil war movement. Documents from the time, which can be found in that display cabinet near you, Young Lady, show us that the surviving son, Darcy Van Dellan, is strongly tied to legends of the Ghost of Gettysburg. Have you heard the stories? They are famous around here.
Darcy's own features scowled readily at the idea that he had 'abandoned' that family. The old fool hardly having any understanding of the truth of that tale. His own lips parted nly for the man to continue like a broken fucking record player. The man clearly having memorised that veritable spiel so well he hardly seemed to care just who is was presenting it too as he went on. If you follow me into the bedroom here you will see a diary kept by Sadie Van Dellan. We have photocopied the pages for you to read here. We have learned from this record that her son and husband had a great deal of arguments. Sadie worried for them both and her young daughter who had always had poor health. Against her husband's wishes, Sadie allowed Darcy to attend school where the boy was reported to show an extremely unusual gift for numbers and mathematics. Now in those days it was unusual for a boy from a ranching family to attend school beyond the age of twelve or so, he was needed on the farm you see, and secondary school cost money. Darcy's teachers appealed to the family to allow the boy to attend secondary school with the hopes of making something of himself, he had the talent she said, and she was willing to pay for his education too! Clancy Van Dellan however would hear none of it. It was common belief in the time that boys had no need for education. Then, you see-
Those words were near snapped into the gloom, the caretaker turning to eye Darcy in clear bafflement at that outburst.
"He told me dat he ain't payin for no book learnin' son 'ecause no book ever got a field ploughed. Dat teacher even offered ta pay for me an he wouldn't let 'er cause o his fucking pride. What he even got ta be proud off? He just didn't want me being smarter den 'im and leaving dis ranch to make somethin' off meself. He wanted me to fuckin' die 'ere like he did. He was a fuckin' fool wit money, he drove us all into da ground and me Ma just stood by an let 'im ruin us all!"
We are rough men and used to rough ways.