Authors: Elizabeth Hunter
Table of Contents
A Fall of Water:
An Elemental Mystery
By Elizabeth Hunter
A Fall of Water
Copyright © 2012
by Elizabeth Hunter
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover Design: Flash in the Can Productions
Edited by: Amy Eye
Formatted by: Amy Eye
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For information about the Elemental Mysteries series, please visit:
Other books by Elizabeth Hunter:
The Elemental Mysteries:
A HIDDEN FIRE
THIS SAME EARTH
THE FORCE OF WIND
THE GENIUS AND THE MUSE
For my son
May you love life
and be more than happy;
may you be good.
May your stories bring you joy
and your heart find peace.
I am blessed beyond measure
to be called your mother.
“Close your eyes, hold your breath…
And always trust your cape.”
The fall of dropping water wears away the stone.
Cochamó Valley, Chile
Giovanni winked over his shoulder as he backed into the living room. “Another bookcase.”
Beatrice rolled her eyes as Gustavo stumbled into the room. “Ha ha. Funny, it sure looks like a piano.”
“And not one that was easy to get here,” Gustavo said.
“Gio, why did you bring a piano to the house?”
“Because we’re going to be here for at least a year, and I like the piano.”
She shrugged and turned back to the fire and her book.
“And I thought maybe you would like to learn, too.”
She glanced over at the two vampires. “I’m not very musical.”
“I know,” Gustavo said. “I’ve heard you hum.”
“Hey!” She tossed a pillow at him, but he only laughed as he and Giovanni maneuvered the piano into a corner of the living room near the bookcases. It was a small upright, shiny black, and blended nicely with the dark wood and wrought iron, which decorated their mountain home. Much smaller than Giovanni’s grand piano at their house in Los Angeles, she knew he would enjoy playing it just as much.
Beatrice heard footsteps crossing the meadow and rose to meet the visitor at the door. It was Isabel, carrying the bench for the piano.
“They forgot this!” she called as she climbed the steps. “I’m amazed it all made it into the valley in one piece.”
Gustavo walked over and took the bench from her. “We didn’t forget it, woman. We may have inhuman strength, but we still only have two hands apiece.”
Isabel sat next to Beatrice and put her arm around the younger woman. “How are you? I haven’t seen you since Christmas.”
“Fine.” She nodded. “Good. I’ve been doing a lot of reading.”
“Ben’s doing well. He and Father are thick as thieves.”
Beatrice smiled. “Well, that’s not a surprise. They’re about the same age, mentally.”
Isabel’s laugh pealed out and Beatrice saw Gustavo look up, watching his wife with a small smile as he helped Giovanni.
“You’re right, you know; you missed the wrestling match. I’ve never... I don’t think there are words to describe that scene.”
“I was sorry to miss it, but I didn’t want to spoil Ben’s fun by, you know, draining him or something.”
Isabel nodded. “Good point. Nice of you to be so thoughtful.”
Isabel raised a knowing eyebrow. “Really?”
Beatrice took a deep breath and swallowed the lump that had risen in her throat. “I’m... trying.”
Isabel leaned over and squeezed her shoulders in a quick hug before she rose from the couch. “I’ll see you later. If you want a break from this one”—she pointed at Giovanni—“just use the radio.”
Giovanni scowled at Isabel. “Why would she want a break from me?”
Beatrice snickered as Isabel gave him a dry look, then pulled Gustavo out the door, muttering under her breath about “stubborn, donkey men.”
Giovanni sat next to her on the couch, tossing more flames toward the dwindling fire, even though it was summer. He frowned and looked into the bright flames, which lit the dim cabin. “So, you really don’t have any interest in learning the piano?”
Beatrice leaned into his shoulder and shrugged. “Like I said, I’m not musical.”
“I’m sick of you!” Beatrice threw a copy of
He caught it and slammed it on the coffee table, wincing at the crack of wood underneath the book. “It’s a good thing that was a mass market edition, woman! And I’m not particularly thrilled with you right now, either.”
She stalked toward him, shoving a finger in his chest. He could see her fangs descended in anger and feel her heart racing. “You know, at least you’re not stuck up in this cabin, miles away from any other person. I can’t even visit most of them because I’d probably end up drinking them for dinner! Add to that, I’m awake in here all day with nothing to do but read. You, at least, get to sleep for longer than a few hours!”
Giovanni stepped closer, ignoring Carwyn, who stared at them from the couch with wide eyes. “At least I don’t blame you for things that are entirely out of my control, Beatrice. It’s not my fault that you’re awake most of the day.”
“You don’t even
to stay awake.”
His mouth gaped. “You’re being completely irrational right now. I refuse to continue this discussion—”
“Don’t you use the professor voice on me!”
Giovanni saw Carwyn sneaking toward the door. “I’m just—” the priest stammered, “I’ll be...” He slipped out and they paused, waiting for the sound of their friend escaping through the forest.
Giovanni waited for only a moment before he grabbed Beatrice, lifting her up as she wrapped her legs around his waist. “Nicely done, Tesoro,” he murmured as his lips devoured the skin along her neck.
Her hands were already ripping his shirt. “I thought he was never going to leave.”
“Mmm.” He growled as she nipped at his collarbone. “Why is it so sexy when you yell at me?” They stumbled toward the bedroom and Giovanni nudged the door closed with his hip.
“Probably”—she panted as Giovanni tore her shirt down the front—“the same reason I find the professor voice strangely hot.”
“Let’s not question it, shall we?”
She sat alone on the porch, staring into the clear night sky. Carwyn had gone back to Isabel and Gustavo’s house to watch a movie with Ben, so Beatrice sat, holding the printout of the e-mail from Giovanni in London.
Six more days.
It was the longest they had ever been apart since he had returned to her. Three weeks. Considering they could be together for hundreds, if not thousands of years, Beatrice knew she should probably be grateful for the solitude.
Six more days.
She sensed Isabel coming through the trees. Even though they could move swiftly, it was considered rude to just appear at someone’s doorstep in the quiet valley commune. So even vampires usually approached at human speed unless there was an emergency, or they were expected.
Isabel said not a word as she sat next to Beatrice on the carved wooden bench that Gustavo had made for them as a wedding present.
“Deirdre and Ioan used to separate for months at a time when they were first together... well, after the first fifty years or so. They were both so independent. They once went a year and a half apart, totally by choice, just sending letters to each other. Ioan was at our brother’s castle in Scotland and Deirdre was on some island in the North Sea.”
“Really?” If Isabel intended her words to be some strange comfort, she wasn’t successful. Beatrice felt even more feeble thinking about Deirdre and Ioan’s resilient marriage.
“My Gustavo and I though...” Isabel smiled to herself. “We can’t be without each other that long. It just doesn’t suit us. He is my other half. I went a month without him once and almost went insane. I snapped at everyone. I was so cross.”
Beatrice gripped Isabel’s hand. “Thanks.”
“It doesn’t make us weak to need them.”
Isabel looked over with a smile. “If your right hand was lame, wouldn’t your left miss its mate? You might get along without it, but you’d always be aware that something was missing. That’s natural, not weak.”
“I’m not used...” Beatrice struggled to articulate what had been bothering her for months. “I just feel so tied to him. And to my...”
“Your father. You miss the tie to your father.”
“Yes,” she whispered, blinking back tears. “I mean, even more than when I thought he had died when I was a girl. There’s just this big, empty void in my chest. When Giovanni’s here, it helps. Especially when we—” She broke off, suddenly reluctant to continue.
Isabel chuckled. “No need to be embarrassed. When you exchange blood, it’s very intimate. It’s a tie of another sort, and one that will eventually surpass the tie you felt with your father. It’s natural. And it’s natural that you feel this void from your father’s loss.” She put an arm around Beatrice’s shoulders and pulled her into an embrace. “If I even think about losing Father... It’s too horrible to contemplate. And I was sired over five hundred years ago. For you? You were a newborn when he was lost, his blood still fresh in your veins. I cannot imagine it, Beatrice. You should never feel weak. I believe you are one of the strongest young women I have had the privilege of knowing.”