Fated (Chapter 4)

Stefan made the sharp turn into my driveway, his behavior filled with trepidation. The remainder of the trip home had been silent except for the sound of the wind blowing in through the open windows. He stopped the car and turned off the engine and made no attempt to move.

Without waiting for him, I climbed out of the car and closed the door behind me.

I tilted my face up to stare at the moon shining brightly in the sky, breathing in the humid air. It was a welcome respite from the tension hanging over us during the ride back to my house.

Stepping onto the porch, I turned to see him still sitting in his car. I shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot as I contemplated what to do. I wasn't good with situations like this. I'd shielded myself from getting close to anyone for this reason. Yet here I was, neck deep in some sort of relationship with a 975 year old vampire.

Karma truly is a bitch.

Dropping my purse on the porch steps, I walked back towards the car. I leaned my arms against the driver's side door and waited for him to look at me. His gaze was fixed straight ahead, appearing to be lost in thought.

It was up to me to attempt to fix this situation since he wouldn't even look at me, let alone attempt to have a conversation about it. This should be interesting since I have no experience repairing any kind of relationship.

"Want to come inside?" I asked softly. He finally turned to look at me, a skeptical look flashing across his face. I gave him a small smile as I reached out to stroke his face, my fingers lightly cupping his cheek. He leaned his head slightly into the warmth of my hand.

"You want me to come inside?" Stefan questioned in a low, composed voice.

"I think I already asked you that. Please come inside, Stefan."

The car door opened and Stefan got out of the car. As he stood beside me his tall, muscular frame towered over me and I had to crane my neck to look up at his face. His blond hair shined like gold and his skin was glowing in the moonlight. It was a moment like this when I struggled to grasp why he wanted to be with me when he could have anyone he wanted.

"I only want you, vackra. For 200 years, I have only desired you. I meant what I said earlier, Josephine. I have loved-" Stefan said hoarsely. I placed my hand gently over his mouth to stop his words.

"Enough talking for now. Come inside before Georgia hears us and wants to have a sleepover," I whispered roughly. I couldn't bear to hear him say those words again.  My heart couldn't take it.

I walked back to the steps and bent to pick up my purse as I walked by. Fishing out my keys, I unlocked the door and went inside. I glanced over my shoulder to see he was still standing by the car, his face inscrutable in the moonlight.

I switched on the lamp on the table, tossing my purse and keys haphazardly on the table. Turning, I walked outside to rejoin him and brushed my hands over his arms and shoulders lightly. He closed his eyes and I watched his throat as he swallowed hard in response. My fingers ran over the skin of his neck, tracing a finger over his Adam's apple.

"Here's the thing Stefan, I'm not good at this. I've never wanted to take the time to be in a relationship with anyone and now I'm in this complicated one with an immortal man that is absolutely gorgeous. He tells me things I thought weren't true and couldn't happen. Did I mention he drives me crazy in a good sort of way?" My hands slipped under his shirt to rub his chest and stomach and his muscles tightened under the movement of my hands. "So could you please come inside with me? I need you."

"You have had too much to drink," Stefan muttered, his lips set in a hard line. "I do not want to you to regret anything."

A small laugh escaped from my lips. "And exactly whose fault would that be? I know exactly what I'm doing, Stefan. I said I need you. The only thing I'll regret is if you leave right now."

Seconds passed by and I could see Stefan's reluctance begin to waver. I put all the emotion I could behind my thought. "Do it. Just kiss me already."

Stefan head snapped to look at me, his blue eyes glowing as if they were on fire. His hands were rough as he grabbed my face with both of his hands, his lips hard and searching against mine. His tongue flicked out to meet my own and he lifted me effortlessly in his arms. My legs locked around his waist and he wrapped his arms around me. He carried me into the house and kicked the front door closed behind us.

The kiss intensified as we made the short trip to the couch. He sat down and I tucked my legs to straddle him, feeling his large erection press against the heat between my legs. I wrapped my arms around his neck and let my fingers snake up into his silky, golden hair. I tugged it gently with my hands and he moaned into my mouth, pulling me closer.

Moving my lips from his, I pressed kisses along his jaw, stopping just below his lips. His tongue flicked out in anticipation, grazing slowly along his lower lip. When he flicked his tongue out again, I touched my tongue to his. One of his hands went to my hair, turning my head so he could deepen the kiss. His other hand rubbed underneath my tank top to caress my lower back.

I lifted my mouth away from his to grab the bottom of my shirt and I pulled it over my head, my hair tumbling around my shoulders in a tumble of waves. Standing slowly, I unzipped my jeans. Stefan leaned forward and he pushed them over my legs. He ran his tongue sensuously over his lip again as his eyes roamed over my nearly naked body. I raised a single eyebrow in defiance, turning on my heel and began to walk towards my bedroom. I'd only made it halfway down the hall when his large hands pushed me against the wall, his breath cool against the skin of my neck. One of his hands wound in my hair to slightly pull my head back, exposing my neck to the caress of his lips.

"Going somewhere, Josephine?" Stefan whispered seductively, his lilting voice crashing over me like a tidal wave. My hands fumbled with the buttons on his jeans and his cock sprang free after I struggled to release the final one. I wrapped my hands around him, stroking him gently. He let out a low growl and I released him long enough to push the jeans down around his feet. He absently kicked them away as I quickly sank to my knees to take him into my mouth. I ran my tongue down his entire cock, feeling it twitch when I placed my wet mouth over the head, twirling my tongue around him.

His hands moved to my hair and I looked up through my eyelashes to see his eyes fixated on my mouth. I greedily pulled him deeper into my mouth and throat, hollowing my cheeks around him. I continued to lick and suck him, the moans and groans he uttered only spurred my need to go faster and to make him moan louder. I let my fingers slowly drift to brush against his balls as I continued to steadily suck him. A shudder that shook his whole body reverberated in my mouth, making me moan from the sensation.

"Your mouth, Josephine. It is too much. I cannot do this right now," Stefan snarled as he pulled out of my mouth and picked me up to carry me into the bedroom. He roughly dropped me on the bed, his eyes filled with need as he gazed at me. He grabbed the neck of his t-shirt and ripped it down the middle with one hand and let the pieces drop to the floor.

I brazenly let my eyes sweep over the length of his lean body, feeling a delicious shiver of want run throughout my body as he stood naked before me. He was a blur as he slid between my legs effectively pinning me against the bed. His long fingers smoothed over the sides of my panties, using both fingers to snap apart the sides. A sly smile was on his lips as he lowered his head between my breasts, biting my bra apart with his teeth. His large hands brushed the lacy material away and he softly palmed my breasts for a moment, his fingers slowly pinching my hardened nipples.

He sat back on his knees and made no attempt to hide the fact that he was watching me with eyes that were almost black with need. Delicious excitement consumed me under the weight of his stare, his hooded eyes focusing on the slick heat of my wet sex. The smoldering fire I was feeling between my legs was magnified by the calculating expression on his chiseled face.

"Do you want me to fuck you or eat your pussy, Josephine?" Stefan asked, his voice uneven and deep. "Tell me what you want."

I let out a deep moan, my head dropping back against the bed. "Stefan, fuck….I can't…I want it all."

Stefan ran his fingers over the wetness of my pussy, watching as my hips bucked wildly with desperation. His mouth lowered to devour my swollen clit, my hands violently clutching the sheets in response to the sensation of his mouth on me. He slid a long finger inside of me, joined by a second, teasing as they stroked and curled within my moist depths. My back arched and I tightened around him, his fingers slipping in the slick wetness.

His tongue strayed to lave over my inner thigh and his fangs sank into my tender skin. I cried out in pleasure from the combination from his bite and his fingers rubbing inside of me, coaxing me to climax. I felt him swallow and I shuddered around his fingers, his tongue flickering over the punctures to seal them.

His hips settled in between my thighs and his hard cock plunged inside of me with no warning. My hips rose to meet his first thrust as his body molded to mine, our hips moving in a frenzied tempo. He nudged my head to the side to slowly run his tongue and teeth over my neck possessively.

"Stefan!" I cried out as my fingernails clawed against the muscles of his arms. I felt the skin loosen under my fingertips, causing his blood to run slowly down his arms. As if in a daze, my head moved to to lick the blood that had escaped from the slowly healing scratches, groaning at the bittersweet taste of him. He howled in desire, flipping me over so my ass was exposed to him. He slammed back inside of me, the only sounds in the room was his animalistic grunting, my loud moans and our skin making contact as he forcefully pounded into me.

"Oh god…harder!" I screamed breathlessly, tears running from my eyes from the pleasure of being owned by him. He pulled my hips back against him faster and spread my legs wider so his cock slid deeper inside of me. My breasts pressed against the bed and I felt my inner walls begin to tighten around him, clenching his cock tightly as I came around him. I cried out incoherently in ecstasy when I felt his hands grip my hips tighter and he pulsed inside me with a bellowing yell.

"Knulla det!" His spent body slumped over me, pulling my back against his chest. He had burrowed his nose into the crook of my neck when he smelled the salt from my tears.

"You are crying? Did I hurt you? Stefan asked, alarmed. He rolled us over and his eyes darted over my body, looking for injuries. Unable to form a coherent answer, I simply shook my head which caused an arrogant grin to break over his face. He stroked one of his large hands lovingly over the outside of my thigh. "Then they are happy tears. I can live with that."

"Technically you aren't alive, Romeo." I muttered softly. He rolled onto his back and rubbed his hand over his face in exasperation. I turned to face him, draping myself across his chest. "I love…I…"

As much as I wanted to tell him I loved him, I couldn't say the words. I felt a tear escape from the corner of my eye as I buried my face against the coolness of his chest, unable to look at him. I was a coward. I loved him and was too scared to say the words.

His hand lifted my chin to search my red-rimmed eyes. His smile was gentle as he lowered his lips to capture mine in a soft, loving kiss.

"You do not have to say it now, Josephine," Stefan murmured softly against my lips. "You will say the words when you are ready. Always know that I will love you eternally."

He wrapped me in the strong embrace of his arms and rocked me gently as I sobbed against his chest.


I woke up to the sound of rain splattering against the window, the gloomy light of an overcast sky darkening my bedroom. I stretched and rolled over, expecting to see Stefan stretched out beside of me. His side of the bed was empty, a note sitting on his vacant pillow. I sat up and reached over to pick it up.


I am sorry I will not be here to see the beauty of your face when you awake. I will count the moments until I return to you…


I read the note twice, running my fingers over his elegant handwriting and held the note to my nose to see if I could smell his scent on the paper. I rolled my eyes, mentally berating myself for my behavior. I was acting like I was the heroine in a vampire version of a Harlequin romance novel, swooning and smelling a piece of paper he had written the note on. Sighing heavily, I reviewed the previous night in my head, groaning when I remembered that I couldn't bring myself to tell him I loved him. I was pathetic. He told me he'd love me eternally and I cried against his chest like a scared little girl.

It was true. I did love him. I didn't make it a habit to attach myself to anyone, yet within days I'd made a 180 degree turn. Now I was in love with a vampire and smelling his notes in the off-chance that I could smell his scent on the paper? Had I lost my mind?

Throwing back the covers in disgust, I made my way into the bathroom. As I brushed my teeth, my eyes passed over my reflection in the mirror and I did a double take. My hair, even in its disheveled, 'I was fucked by a six-foot-four sex god' state was bouncy and had a sheen to it that could never be achieved by any shampoo or conditioner. My skin was glowing and my green eyes sparkled back at me in the mirror. I watched my hand trace my much plumper lips in the reflection of the mirror. I looked like I'd spent hours at a spa. What the hell is going on?

My cell phone rang, causing me to jump and tear my eyes away from the mirror. I sprinted down the hallway to unplug my cell phone from the charger, not bothering to look at the phone. I knew it was Georgia calling to berate me for not calling her.

"Hello, Georgia."

"You know, you were supposed to call me. I'm sure you were too busy with Hunky McHunkerson to remember little old me." I could hear almost hear Georgia's pout over the phone.

"I know, I know. Time got away from me. We're talking now, so what's up?"

"'What's up!? I'll tell you what's up," Georgia mocked, her voice incredulous. "I just talked to Anna. Obviously you and Mr. Hunky are serious since you were mooning all over each other at dinner last night. What the hell is going on? And now is not the time to feed me a line of bullshit either, Josie."

"He has a name, Georgia. It's Stefan. And yes, it's serious. I think." I busied myself filling up a kettle with water, placing it on the burner to boil water for coffee. I scooped coffee into my French press and waited for Georgia to continue.

"You think it's serious? I don't like to get in your business but…"

"Really? I would have never known by this conversation. You've been all about being in my business for two days," I retorted sharply. "I like him. A lot. I don't know where this is going but I'm not going to push him away."

I was being a coward again by saying I liked him. I loved him. I loved how he made my stomach flip like an infatuated school girl when I saw him. I loved how he made me want to pull my hair out and then jump him. And I even loved his aggravating smirk and swagger…yeah, I especially loved his swagger. Yum.

Georgia sighed into the phone. "Whatever, Josie. This isn't like you, honey. I'm running into town. Wanna join me?" The water boiled, and I poured the hot water over the coffee in the press.

"Give me twenty minutes. I do need to grab some groceries."

"See ya, chick."

I hit 'end' on my phone and shook my head, closing my eyes in exasperation. Georgia took twenty minutes to mean fifteen. I ran back down the hallway to start the shower.


I was walking up the hallway after my quick shower and brief primping session to find Georgia and Anna both sitting in the living room, pointedly looking at my clothes that still littered the living room floor. It was obvious this was going to a double interrogation, a surreal version of bad cop, bad cop, neither taking my side since they both wanted the dirt. I immediately decided to feign ignorance since it didn't take psychic abilities to know what was going to happen.

"Coffee?" I asked as I darted around the kitchen, getting cups and sugar out of the cupboards.

Georgia and Anna's heels clacked over the wood floor as they made their way into the kitchen. I was nervously waiting for the questions to begin.

"Sure," Georgia said, pulling out a chair and sitting down at the table in the kitchen. Anna nodded and sat down across from Georgia. "It looks like you had an eventful night, honey."

Pouring coffee into three cups, I passed cups to both of them. I took my time spooning sugar into my mug, stirring my coffee with my spoon and placing it on the napkin I'd pulled from the basket. I focused on my coffee, shrugging nonchalantly.

"I have to admit you look gorgeous," Anna said, her eyes taking in my hair and skin. "You look like you've been properly fucked. It looks good on you."

"Anna," I warned, my eyes narrowing. I took a deep drink of coffee and fought off an exasperated sigh.

"Ok, ok. Don't tell me!" Anna waved her hands in surrender, rolling her eyes in exasperation. I thought she'd given up when she leaned in over her coffee cup. "Just tell me one thing, Josie. Please tell me he's packing. Someone that is that huge has to be packing. And I can tell by the way he moves that he knows how to use it."

"Anna!" I groaned, dropping my face into my hands. "I'm going to say this once. Once! And I will never admit I told you anything." I set my gaze on Anna. "Yes, he's 'packing.' And yes, he knows how to use it. Multiple times."

Georgia and Anna looked at each other and squealed in delight. Georgia clapped her hands together like she just found out she had the winning lottery ticket.

"I knew it!" Anna said smugly, smoothing her curls with her hand. She finished her coffee and stood up. "Let's go. We have places to go."

Draining my coffee cup, I pushed away from the table. Where was Stefan when you needed him?

We piled into Georgia's sedan and made the short trip into town. There was a small market that sold fresh produce and farther in was a small row of shops. We split up, each doing our respective shopping. I made sure my shields were in place and enjoyed the first alone moments that I'd had for the last few days. I was deep in thought and contemplating buying a dark purple silk dress with a halter style neckline when Anna rejoined me.

"That would look fabulous on you. You should get it," Anna said, turning her head to the side and admiring the dress. "Look, I don't know what's going on with you and Stefan and I'm not going to bug you about it. I think it's long overdue that you met someone. Does he know?"

Nodding to Anna, I took the dress down from the hook it was hanging on, double checking the size. I carried the dress to the clerk, waited for her to ring it up, paid and grabbed the bag. Anna was hot on my heels as we left the store.

"He knows. He's very observant." I shrugged as Anna linked arms with me. We walked slowly to Georgia's car, content in idle conversation and people watching.

"He's something. Sex on two legs for sure. Wanna know what I noticed last night? For the first time, you looked really happy." Anna smiled at me. I gave her another shrug and we leaned against the car, waiting for Georgia to join us.

"I like him, Anna. A lot," I said quietly and paused, watching Anna's reaction briefly. I could feel Anna's happiness for me. "So we'll see what happens."

Anna laughed, waving her hand. "Lukas is under the impression that Stefan is ready to ride off into the sunset with you. I can only imagine the size of the horse that would take to hold him. One more thing. Please tell me that Stefan has a twin, or an equally gorgeous friend that's not gay. Lie to me if you have to."

I didn't have a chance to answer as Georgia decided to make her appearance, her arms loaded down with bags.

"Y'all ready to go?" Georgia didn't wait for an answer. She unlocked the doors and we piled inside again, this time heading towards home.


It was early evening when Georgia pulled into my driveway, much later than I'd intended to stay out. Stefan was pacing the front porch, almost a little too quickly to appear human. I was going to have to remind him that I had human friends. Very perceptive human friends.

"It looks like someone is nervous," Georgia observed, glancing over at me. I pursed my lips and shrugged. I had no experience when it came to nervous boyfriends. Did you call a 975 year old vampire a boyfriend?

I couldn't help but smile when I saw the look of relief flash across Stefan's face when he saw me in the car with Georgia. He stepped off the porch and had my car door open before the she'd completely stopped.

"Hey, stranger," I whispered as Stefan grabbed me to him impatiently. Pulling back to look at him, I realized that now that he knew that he knew I was safe, he was angry. This sort of behavior was not going to work with me. The last thing I needed was a vampire bodyguard.

"I was worried. I came back and you were gone. Perhaps if you had left a note, I would have known where you were, Josephine."

Georgia was out around the car quickly, her arms crossed. "Perhaps if you weren't up her ass 24 hours a day and had something productive to do you wouldn't need to worry about her. She does have a life outside of you, Mr. Hunky McHunkerson." Georgia was just getting warmed up, taking her index finger and poking him in his chest. "You showed up on the scene two, count them, TWO days ago and now you think you need to know where she is at all times? Not happening. You obviously think you're much more important than you really are. I think someone needs an attitude adjustment."

"Georgia!" I looked at Georgia sharply. I'd unfortunately seen this side of Georgia before. She was full of anger and was ready to come out with guns blasting. I was usually able to diffuse the situation since I could normally see it happening and could easily divert the situation. I was wondering why I didn't see Georgia doing this. She's normally easy to read although I'd been blindsided again.

Stefan raised up to his full six-foot-four height and leaned in close to her, his upper lip curled up into a snarl. To give Georgia credit, she stood her ground but she was looking at me for help out of the corner of her eye. I could feel the panic rolling off of her in waves as she tensed beside of me. Snorting, I grabbed Stefan's hand to try to get his attention.

Leave it to Georgia to start something she couldn't finish.

"Stefan," I soothed, concentrating on staying as calm as possible. His gaze was still focused on Georgia. I waited a moment and squeezed his hand again. "Stefan, please."

Stefan snapped his head around to look at me, his lip still curled up in a snarl. Managing a shaky smile, I squeezed his hand again. Only his lip relaxed, anger still darkened his handsome face. The swooning romance novel heroine inside of me was already thinking of the angry sex we would be having soon and was mentally clapping. I needed to get a grip on my hormones, since it was obvious Stefan was close to snapping.

"Please, Stefan. Help me carry my bags in?"

Stefan followed me to the back of the car, where I pointed out my four bags. I started to grab two of them and he brushed my hand away impatiently, grabbing all four of them and stalking into the house, his posture stiff.

"Shit, Josie. I think I pissed Hunky off," Georgia whispered, one of her hands shaking as she tucked her dark hair behind her ear.

I looked at Georgia incredulously. "You think, Georgia? I thought I was going to have to referee for a minute." I was panicking because I had no idea how this was going to work out. Georgia's future was black.

"I'm sorry. Maybe I should leave and let you two work it out," Georgia offered quickly, starting to turn to walk to the driver's side of her car.

"No." Both of Georgia and I jumped at Stefan's silent return. I could hear how heavily accented his voice sounded in that single syllable. I went to stand in front of Stefan, hoping that I would be enough to keep Stefan away from Georgia.

"Listen to me, Georgia Turner. I may be 'new on the scene' in Josephine's life. However, I was concerned when she was not here when I returned. You may find it acceptable and humorous to chastise other men for their shortcomings. You will not stand here and do that to me. Perhaps I did overreact, that I will agree with. Under no circumstance do you get in my face again. Do we understand each other?"

Georgia nodded, swallowing hard. I knew my mouth was gaping in awe. I'd never seen Georgia surrender without a fight. Of course, she'd never had to face the wrath of a six-foot-four angry vampire either.

Stefan let a small smile break over his face, combing his fingers through his hair and his posture visibly relaxing. He placed his hands on my shoulders and rubbed them softly. I let out a sigh of relief that he'd calmed down and Georgia was safe.

"Good. I am going inside to let the two of you say your goodbyes. Georgia." He inclined his blond head and I watched as his broad shoulders disappeared inside the house. Georgia looked at me, her eyes wide. I stifled a laugh despite the seriousness of the situation. I'd never felt this kind of remorse from Georgia before.

Georgia hugged me quickly in goodbye, started her sedan and was down the driveway like a bat out of hell. I closed my eyes for a moment, taking in a deep breath before heading inside of the house to face Stefan.

Walking into the house, I quietly closed the door behind me. I wasn't looking forward to this discussion with Stefan and my stomach churned in disapproval. I felt him move to stand behind me and I kept my back to him, my body rigid.

"I am sorry," Stefan admitted, his voice soft. "I am an idiot."

"Yes, you are an idiot." I spun on my heel and brushed past him, walking to the kitchen and began unpacking my bags. I chose to ignore his brooding, intense stare as his eyes followed my movements. I hummed as I put away produce, opening and closing cabinet doors as I finished putting groceries away. His large frame was leaning in the doorway, watching me intently.

"I've been alone for a long time, Stefan. The last thing I need is someone to tell me what to do and babysit me. Did you ever think that I don't bother to leave notes because no one has been around to read them for a long time?"

"I apologized, Josephine. Now you are supposed to accept my apology and we move on."

I couldn't hold back my barking laugh. "Really, Stefan? Is that how this is supposed to work?" I made a back and forth gesture with my hand between us. "You get to act like a jackass and I'm supposed to accept it and we just move on?" I walked up to him, craning my neck to look into his eyes. "I'm not sure which cheesy romance novel you are getting your information from but that's not always how it works. I get to be pissed off." I pointed to my chest and pushed him out of my way, stomping past him into the living room. I sat down on the couch and tucked my legs underneath me, my fingertips tapping out an angry rhythm on my leg.

Stefan was silent as he walked to the sliding glass door that led to the back patio. His eyes were focused on the landscape outside, his posture rigid. I watched him for a moment as his jaw clenched in frustration. I let out a small sigh and felt my own anger wane. I was beginning to realize it was going to be impossible to stay angry at him.

"You are human, Josephine. You are fragile and breakable and at any moment I could lose you. I am sorry that I overreacted, but I cannot lose you. Not now. Not ever."

Rising from the couch, I crossed the living room to stand behind him, wrapping my arms around his narrow waist. He stiffened slightly as I pressed up against him.

"I'm fine and I have the right to be pissed off, Stefan. Sometimes I think we're miles apart in the way we think."

He relaxed slightly, his chest rumbling with his responding chuckle. "Ah, Josephine. That we can agree upon." He took one of my hands and led me back to the couch, sitting down and pulling me onto his lap. I rested my head on his solid chest, waiting for him to continue.

His voice was steady and deliberate when he spoke. "I am ready to move on with my life now that I have found you, Josephine. I have searched, waited and loved you for two centuries. I have been patient," Stefan paused, drawing in an unnecessary breath. "I have found you and I do not want to play games. Be with me, love me and let us progress. Is that too much to ask of you?"

Was it too much to ask? I'd been alone a long time, even prior to my adoptive parents' death four years ago. I'd never been normal, so why would my first and possibly last relationship be normal? I was still attempting to baby-step my way into this situation instead of blindly jumping into the deep end like he was expecting me to do with no reservations.

"Stefan, let me tell you what my life was like prior to meeting you and letting you turn it upside down." He rhythmically began stroking my hair and I closed my eyes, enjoying the feel of his hands in my hair. "I was alone, with the exception of Georgia and Anna. My adoptive parents died four years ago in a car accident. I can't locate my birth parents no matter how much money I spend or how hard I search. I move from place to place and I never settle down. I'm used to being alone and then you sweep in and I'm supposed to just go with the flow? That's sort of is the opposite of how I operate."

Stefan pressed his lips against the top of my head. "Yet I am over 900 years old and can change. Explain what you want from me, Josephine."

Laughing deeply, I wrapped my arms around his neck. "There are many things I want from you.  But I need time. Time to adjust to us. I need to get used to being in a relationship."

He nodded. "Then I will give you time. You have to promise to meet me halfway, Josephine."

I swallowed the lump that had risen in my throat. My mouth was dry when I finally spoke. "I promise."

"Now is the part of the cheesy romance novel where we kiss and make up, yes?" Stefan asked, his eyebrows waggling and blue eyes twinkling with humor.

"Kiss me, you big idiot."

I didn't have to ask him twice.