Ella punched her assailant in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him and feeling accomplished. He had went limp for just a moment and in that moment she felt she had just won but she soon felt razor sharp pain as he slashed at her, suddenly forming claws. Her scream was cut off as Mered startled her, pouncing on the man. He had been out with her brother, Nigel and Cadoc but she supposed now he was back. She could feel the anger coming off of him in waves and a new scream came from her lungs when the man she had been fighting cut his head clean off with his claws “Mered!” Tears streamed down her face even when she saw his body still moving. He simply picked up his head and it went right back on his body, his skin connecting with eachother again like it was a completely natural thing to happen.
He had told her he was impossible to kill but she had never seen anything like that before. The reality of her mate being basically indestructible was sinking in watching him fight this thing. Mered brought the man near death, wishing he could snuff out his miserable life but Ella was right there and he had promised both her and his daughter he’d never take a life again unless he had to. Angrily he spat his words at the man “I wish I could kill you, I want to so badly for hurting her but she wouldn’t want me to. If you so much as look at her again though you will be dead before you even realize what happened. Go! Get the hell away from her before I can’t keep myself from killing you”
The man limped and stumbled away fearfully as Mered walked over to Ella and lifted her up. She could see the worry in his face as he carried her back to their house and inside. Mered cleaned her wounds, waiting to ask her what happened until after he had bandaged her up. “You know how young male demons are. He saw me and wanted sex or a fight. I wanted neither but again, you know how young male demons are”
“This is why I shouldn’t leave you alone”
“I would have been okay”
“Your wounds say otherwise”
“says the man that got his head cut off”
“Almost anything can happen to me and I’d be okay. My body just puts itself back together unless you do it a certain way. I hope me loseing my head didn’t scare you”
“It did but you telling me and me seeing it are two different things. I mean wow, your head really did just go right back on”
“I’m sorry you had to see it. I hoped you’d never have to see anything close to that.”
She had a sudden thought and giggled a little. He gave her a questioning look and she said, “Losing your head.”
He huffed. “You mean like my temper.”
“Yeah, sorry, I think I needed the humor.”
He pressed his forehead against hers. “I’m just glad you’re safe. He didn’t do anything else before I got there did he?”
“No, I promise.”
“Thank goodness.” He was also relieved he really hadn’t had to shed blood in front of her. There would have been no way for him to hold back if he had raped or attempted to rape her. “Now I’m going to have to lock you up to keep you safe.”
“You better not.” She said with a laugh. She then reached up and ran her fingers along his throat. “I’m so relieved you didn’t die.”
He kissed her then cradled Ella in his arms to take her to their couch. It had terrified him to stumble upon her fighting something and he wanted her close. He knew all mates worried about each other but more terror than most gripped him when it came to Ella due to how he used to be. Anything could just come and try to kill her simply because it was fun. “How I wish you were basically impossible to kill like me”
“I am, just in a different way. My parents are amazing and taught me everything they know”
“Still, I’m keeping you close for awhile”
“You’re so sweet Mered” He ran his fingers through her hair “I’m so lucky…you’re irreplaceable Ella” He spoke softly, making sure she heard how deeply he meant them. “did you have fun at least”
“always Cadoc gave me a little too much information about him and my daughter but it was still fun” Ella giggled “He makes her so happy”
“Just like you make me Ella” He held her tightly against him, still trying to relax and stop worrying about her safety.
“How about I make us some tea and cookies.” Ella wanted him to relax, especially since she was okay.
“I can do it.”
She laughed, smiling lovingly at him. “Mered, I’m alright baby.”
“At least let me stay with you.” He brushed his nose over her cheek then pressed a kiss to her neck.
He reluctantly let her go and followed her into the kitchen, letting her grab everything she needed and get the water boiling, then wrapping his arms around her from behind as she made the cookie dough. She hummed softly, the sound helping to relax him. She couldn’t help but smile at how protective he was, reminding her of a guard dog. Whether he believed it or not, he could be quite adorable.
She wanted to keep the conversation going as she got everything ready so Mered’s mind wouldn’t dwell “so besides Cadoc talking too much, what did you talk about with my brother and Nigel”
“Vina is repainting their home and your brother mentioned us all going to Porthcawl but I definitely don’t want to do that now” she giggled “Mered, I seriously would have been fine and if we go you’ll be glued to my side, I have no fear of that”
“mm, well it wouldn’t be just yet anyway so lets not discuss it for now. My heart stopped when I saw that man trying to hurt you…I just think of the things I’m capable of and so many scenarios went through my head even in the few seconds it took me to close the distance between us. I was such a horrible man and I pay the price now with worry”
“I understand Mered, we’ll relax for the rest of the day and talk about it tomorrow”
Mered managed to relax a little more once they were cuddled up on the couch enjoying the tea she had made. The smell of cookies started to fill the house and he had to resist the urge to follow her into the kitchen when she went to pull the first batch out. He knew he had to be smothering her and he would hate for her to get upset over it. He could still hear her and stayed alert until she came back with a plate of cookies. “Calm down, baby, eat some cookies. Your heart’s beating so fast.” Her gentle, loving tone made his heart stutter.
“Sorry, thank you for putting up with me.”
“There is no, putting up with, it makes me happy you love me so much. My brother would do the same thing you know, he’d follow me everywhere until he was absolutely sure I was safe, so don’t feel bad.”
“I feel like a child. I keep thinking karma is going to come back and tear me to pieces.”
“I have a feeling you’d bite back.”
He huffed out a laugh and pulled her into him, kissing her. “You really know how to make everything better. Thank you, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
The next morning as they sat down for breakfast she brought up her brothers suggestion “you know, I would love to go with him to Porthcawl. He’ll be there and you’ll be there so nothing can possibly happen to me, you know that”
“I suppose it would be a fruitless effort to try and keep you inside” she smiled and he leaned over to kiss her. As he sat back straight she said “I’ll call him after breakfast and see who all is going and when”
“what is it with you and Atticus with your need to travel all the time”
“We grew up going places a lot, fighting evils and what not with our parents or just traveling to travel and we always came home just fine. Maybe Gregory will come, you’ve never seen him fight but he is amazing and his wife is a fairy”
“Gregory is the vampire isn’t he?”
“What a dangerous match.”
“Not for them, he’s never had an issue with taking her blood.”
“I see. I look forward to meeting them then.”
She took his hand, smiling. “Everything’s going to be fine, you’ll see. We’re going to have fun.”
“I know and I’ll try to lay off the worrying if I can.” They finished eating, Mered going through every scenario he could think of that could possibly put Ella in danger. He knew he was being ridiculous, but he wanted an out just in case.
Before he knew it the day was upon him, he was walking to Porthcawl with Ella, Atticus, Tamlin, Gregory and their youngest child, a teenager whom he had learned went by the name Taarmun. He felt a little more comfortable meeting them all in person. Time and time again it was confirmed in him his mate came form a fierce family. He felt he could count on them in any sort of fight, especially if she inspired even half the love in them that she inspired within him. “so is it true? You really have to be killed a certain way to die?” Taarmun asked and Ella answered “I actually just saw his head get completely cut off and it just went back on like it was a perfectly normal thing to do”
“Thats pretty cool, how did you learn you had that ability?”
“Its one thats run in my family quite some time”
“It’s more irritating than anything, especially if I have to search for a limb.”
Taarum started laughing, the sound contagiously moving through all of them, it taking longer for Mered to realize the humor in it. “Does that happen often?” Taarum managed to ask.
“A few times, but I managed.”
“I can just imagine the face you were making.” Ella said, her laughter starting once again. “I bet you were mumbling and cursing.”
“I think the most frustrating time was when an arm flew into a swamp, I seriously considered just leaving it it took so long to find my arm”
“well hopefully you wont lost anything this trip…even though I know you’ll be okay it still hurts to see you like that”
“Normally I wouldn’t let that happen, its rare when something can get the better of me. I was just so blinded by rage to see that thing hurting you” She grabbed onto his arm affectionately, giving him a loving smile that tugged at his heart. He was never going to let anything happen to her, he absolutely couldn’t lose Ella. Questions continued to flow back and forth, everyone seeming to be getting along well but Ella had expected as much. Mered truly wasn’t as bad as he felt he was and her family knew how happy she was with him.
Taarum asked more question as they walked, his curiosity getting the best of him. Ella enjoyed their back and forth while she visited with her brothers. Mered split his focus between Taarum and Ella, answering questions as he let her scent curl around him and relax him. “So are you two planning on having any kids?” Atticus asked and Mered heard her heart skip a beat.
“We haven’t really discussed it. That eager to be an uncle again?”
“Of course. I need more nieces and nephews to spoil.”
Ella laughed. “Awe, how cute.”
“Children are a wonderful thing.” Gregory added. “Watching them grow into amazing adults is so rewarding.”
“I agree.” Mered said. “Raising Tahairah was something else.”
Now her mind was consumed with children, she hadn’t realized she wanted any until her brother brought it up. Her life stayed so busy, especially with all their friends and the daughter Mered already had it simply hadn’t crossed her mind but now, she really wanted that but she was a little embarrassed to actually say as much. At least for now, she’d wait until they were alone to see if Mered would want to have children with her. She loved having four siblings so she wanted to have at least three children. She felt she was getting a bit ahead of herself since they hadn’t had a real discussion yet so she decided to bring up another topic.
It was their second night out when clicks and sucking noises startled Ella out of her sleep. She sat up, her eyes locking with a volucrix. They were disgusting creatures, with large, flat heads that resembled cockroach’s with spikes covering it. Their body’s were thin, sickly thin and their arms were more like scythes. Its long, spiked tail drug behind it and thats when she noticed it was a group. “Mer” she had started to say her mates name but almost in that very second they all lay dead, Mered covered in blood.
Ella stared up at him, shocked for a moment. For just a moment she could see that darkness slipping through and then it was gone as he crouched down to check on her, his eyes instantly warming. “Are you alright, my love?” His voice woke the others and they were all surprised by the carnage.
“I’m fine, just surprised.”
“I’m sorry.” He looked her over, making sure she didn’t have any wounds.
“We’re sorry sister.” Gregory said. “We should have been more alert.”
“It’s alright, Mered killed them before I even had time to scream.”
“Thank goodness.” Atticus said as he examined the ripped apart creatures.
“Why don’t you go get cleaned up, Mered, we’ll get rid of these.” Gregory said.
“I’ll go with him.” Ella said.
“I won’t be long baby, you can stay.” Mered worried what she must be thinking, that she would start to have doubts about him if he kept showing that side of himself.
“I want to.”
He didn’t want to argue with her about it so he let her come with him, a little surprised when she took his hand “Ella I’m covered in those creatures” he said gently “I don’t care, I can clean my hand just as easily as we’ll clean you up” They walked back to a river they had seen, careful to stay alert for any more of those creatures. Mered felt relief he wasn’t forced to be the monster he hated being around her. Ella began to help Mered clean off as she said “you’ve had your work cut out for you lately. I’m sorry”
“sorry? It’s hardly your fault”
“well, I wanted to come and you wanted to stay home” He stroked the side of her face, holding her cheek a moment before realizing he was getting her messy again. He rinsed off his hand then wiped off her face which made Ella smile “I love you Mered, you’re so sweet”
“you can say that after what I just did”
“you protected me, my siblings, Tamlin and my nephew. It’s astounding and shocking at times how fast you can be and how easily you seem to kill things but you only ever hurt anything any more to protect me”
“You will always be safe with me Ella, always”
“There’s nothing I’m more sure of” she kissed him and his heart trembled. As soon as he was clean he hugged her, kissing her head before they began to go back to her family and their friend Tamlin. Things seemed to be cleaned up so they all settled down for the remainder of their night, Mered holding Ella close to him.
After they had eaten breakfast the next morning, Mered insisted on carrying her. He was going to keep her as close as possible until they made it to Porthcawl. He was happy when she let him, knowing he was probably being ridiculous, but for now he needed to make sure he could get her to safety immediately. They took a break for lunch and he sat with her in his lap as everyone talked about the trip so far. Other than the near attack, everything was going smoothly and the day was bright and beautiful.
“You doing alright?” Ella asked once they were off again.
“Yeah, sorry if you’re tired of being carried.”
She laughed, the sound causing his heart to skip a beat. “Oh yes, it’s so terrible being loved and protected. I’ll be sure to file a complaint.”
He grinned before placing a loving kiss on her forehead. She relaxed a little more in his arms, enjoying the comfort it brought her. Once again her mind drifted to children and her smile grew a bit bigger at the thought. She could imagine him carrying them around instead of her on trips and how much fun they could all have together. The question was getting hard to keep back so she decided she was going to try and find a time sooner rather than later to talk to him. All she needed was time alone since she didn’t want to spring a question like that on him in front of people.
Mered was relieved when they finally arrived in Porthcawl and were no longer on the open road. He knew cities and villages could be attacked, he had been the cause of a few, but he had to admit that it was harder to sack a city than it did to surprise someone in the middle of nowhere. “Better?” Ella asked in a teasing tone.
“Perhaps. There are a lot of people around here though.”
She laughed and he smiled. “I could scare them all away for you.”
“I’d appreciate it.”
“You two are absolutely adorable together.” Tamlin said with a chuckle.
Mered gave his friend a look that was instantly softened by Ellas kiss. He didn’t like adjectives like adorable when it came to himself but he could take it when it came to Ella. With most recent events he supposed he should take any softening of his image he could get before this beautiful, amazing woman realized he didn’t deserve her. His past had been unforgiveable, despite the fact he now had friends and a mate that seemed to think the world of him. He knew better than to ever take this all for granted, that at any point he could lose these people and he’d deserve it.
He didn’t let those thoughts darken his mood though, especially not today. Ella had been through two close encounters and he wanted to have as much fun with her as possible before that stunning smile quit shining on her face. Atticus started leading them around,having a perfect memory of this place and everything there was to do there.
They joined a few games then found a nice resturaunt to eat at before calling it a night in their own rooms. “see, we’re all alive” Ella said with a teasing look. “Hm, I suppose we are”
“I’m so happy we came”
“Me too, but I’m happy anywhere as long as you’re there.” He sighed, feeling a little exhausted.
“Thank you for coming, I know you prefer being home.”
“I would walk through hell for you.”
She smiled as she pressed a kiss to his lips. “I love you.”
“Gods know why.”
“Mered, I know what you’re thinking and it’s not true. Your past isn’t going to change the way I feel about you. You’ve done so much to redeem yourself and you’ve been so sweet and gentle with me.” She let her fingers rub gently over the back of his neck. “I love you because whether you believe it or not, the man you are now has a big heart, is kind and generous and protective.”
“You see much more than I do love.”
“And I’ll keep telling you how wonderful you are until you start believing it. Which brings me to something I wanted to talk to you about. I don’t want you to be afraid to say no or think I’ll be angry, but I was thinking about maybe you and I having a baby.”
His heart thumped a little harder, it both touched and surprised him “you’d like to have a baby with me?” She had clearly just said that but he had to be sure that’s truly what Ella had suggested. “Yeah, I really think you’d be an amazing father and I want my own little family. My parents love being parents so much they occasionally just have to do it again” she said with a breath of laughter. He lifted his hand, resting it on the side of Ellas cheek, stroking it with his thumb “Ella, if you truly want children I’d love to have children with you. We can start trying whenever you want”
“I mean…we’re alone now” she was blushing and he smiled, moving to nibble at her ear. The soft moan it inspired already sending tingles of pleasure through him. Her clothes were on the floor moments later, his soon following. All exhaustion had left his body the second she had brought up children. It meant so much to Mered that she had that much faith in him and he wasn’t sure there was a point of exhaustion he could get to where he wouldn’t want to make love to her.
She wrapped herself around him and he held her close as he pressed hungry kisses to her lips, his hands drifting over her, savoring how soft and warm she was. Their lips parted on a moan when he pushed into her, her fingers gripping his back as he withdrew and rocked back into her waiting heat. He watched the pleasure play over her face, was humbled by the love and adoration he saw in her beautiful eyes. He held her tightly to him, moving in her a little harder as she quivered around him. “Ella, I love you.”
“I love you too, so much.”
He felt himself choke up and swallowed down that sudden lump in his throat. How did she do that to him, break down his walls until every emotion he kept hidden overwhelmed him. He pressed his lips into hers, his fingers tangling in her soft hair as he picked up the pace, her little whimpers of pleasure and the feel of her dancing around him, sending him over the edge so he flowed into her. He ran his fingers through her hair, let his lips play lovingly over her face in light kisses until she captured his face in her hands and rubbed her nose against his, a bright, adoring smile pulling at her lips.
He laid down next to Ella, pulling her close. They both fell asleep deeply hoping she would become pregnant soon. Mered was a little nervous about raising a child again but he was still excited for it. Tahairah had turned into an amazing woman and he had managed that on his own. Now he’d have Ella and he was sure his daughter would want to help with her new sibling any time she could. Life was about to change but as long as Ella stayed with him he knew nothing but happiness was in his future.
~ The End