Author notes: Second of Gavin/Rikarah stories, written at age seventeen- still one of my favorites of the series.

The young couple lay together in the small twin bed, eyes closed, faces soft, peaceful in their sleep. The narrowness of the bed obviously meant for one person to sleep in did not seem to bother them- they were clearly quite comfortable with being in close contact. They lay facing each other, entangled in one another's arms, locked so closely they seemed to be on the verge of becoming one skin. The young man's strong, muscular arms were wrapped around the young woman's in such a powerful grip that it would seem to an observer that he was trying to crush the breath from her slender, supple form. Her arms were as equally tightly wound around his neck, fingers squeezing so it seemed as though she should be obstructing his breathing. However, neither seemed to wonder about or feel adverse effects from the other's tenacious grip.1

The young woman's face was not visible; she had it buried in her partner's neck, so only her short, unevenly cut dark hair was showing. The young man's face was positioned likewise in her hair; but slowly his hands twitched, adjusted slightly on her back. His head came up slowly, and he looked down at his lover with a strangely twisting smile. His eyes, so dark they were nearly black, glinted in a way that would be undeterminable for most... most, except Rikarah.2

"Rikarah," he spoke her name aloud now, and the girl in his arms stirred slightly, barely more than a flicker of movement- she wouldn't have been able to move much more in his grip. Smiling, he deliberately tightened his hold on her even more. She lifted her head from his neck about three inches, as far ash she was able to mobilize. Rather than appearing groggy, blurry-eyed, as most women would, Rikarah's eyes shone with alertness, and she regarded him with a twisted smirk that matched his own- just as so much about her seemed to go with him...3

" Aww, Gavin, isn't that sweet," she murmured, her voice highly sardonic.4

" Sweet?" Gavin murmured back, drawing her still tighter, more brutally, against him. " I don't know the meaning of that word, Rikarah..."5

Although he knew he must be hurting her, she did not gasp or cry out- but then she wouldn't, of course. He heard only a sharp intake of breath, and from the growing smile on her face, knew that could come from pleasure rather than pain.6

" You're going to leave marks, Gavin," Rikarah breathed, her voice husky.7

" And that's a bad thing?" Gavin muttered silkily. He did not loosen his hold.8

" No," Rikarah said coolly. " Beats passing out..." and with those words, her hands around his neck tightened, as her thumbs began to press down hard at the base of his neck, where his spinal cord began. Black dots flashed dizzyingly before Gavin's eyes, and he felt a sharp pain sweep rapidly through him as he struggled to regain consciousness. Biting back a stunned cry, he released Rikarah hastily, shoving her away with such force he fell backwards off the narrow bed. He heard her laughter as he sat up, vision beginning to clear slowly. He smiled back, sheepishness and admiration both in his eyes.9

" Better work on those defensive reflexes, Gavin," Rikarah admonished, laying on her stomach and resting her chin in her hands, her pixie face inches from his, wide mouth in a delighted grin. " Some day, one of your girls might be smarter than you expect."10

" I doubt it," he replied. " But don't worry, I'll work on it- if only to catch you offguard once."11

Rikarah's smile widened. " You can try all you want sweetie, but do you ever think I'll let that happen?"12

" No," Gavin admitted, grinning once again in a way to anyone else watching, would have seen odd, unsettling... too dark for an expression of light-heartedness.13

Still smiling, Rikarah leaned over and kissed him briefly on the lips, then again, deeper, her mouth opening and closing almost savagely against his. He responded with little urging, his hands coming up to cup her face, one gripping her hair.14

And then one hand slid slowly down her neck, her shoulders, to the small of her back- and with a sudden strong tug,he was pulling her off the bed, sending her sprawling on the floor beside him. Rikarah's eyes widened in surprise as she sprawled ungracefully atop him, as once more his arms locked in a vise around her, his face close to hers.15

" You won't let it," Gavin whispered throatily, voice colored with satisfaction, " but you won't always be able to stop it either." Once again he crushed his lips against Rikarah's, and she kissed back just as brutally. The items on the shelf above their heads seemed to gaze at them solemnly... Rikarah's collection had grown...16


Rikarah straightened the napkin dispenser on the counter, her eyes scanning the room in restless boredom. It was 9:30 am, and her shift at the cozy, eclectic little coffee house/book store/ hang out for all artists/musicians/intellectuals had begun nearly an hour and a half ago. Business had been slow so far- only a few customers had come in hurriedly, leaving with to-go cups of caffeine rather than lingering, giving her something to do, people to watch...18

She wondered idly where Astrid, her coworker, was- she had been scheduled by their boss to work the same shift as Rikarah today. Astrid was around 20 or so, Rikarah's age, with white-blonde hair and a generically pretty face. She often ended up working when Rikarah did, and the two of them talked occasionally. Astrid seemed a nice enough girl, if a bit dull and not exactly brilliant, and she seemed to like Rikarah. One thing she had going for her, she didn't seem very nosy or observant, a trait Rikarah cherished in people she had to associate with. She was also fairly quiet and never tried to extend their relationship beyond that of coworkers- which gave her big marks in Rikarah's book. 19

Astrid was often late for her shifts, but and hour and a half was unusual even for her. Rikarah had seen their boss only once, briefly before the restaurant had officially opened. She knew if he found out that Astrid was this late, if he didn't already know, then she would be fired- he had already warned her several times about being late.20

Just as she was thinking this and debating whether she should try to call Astrid, although that would involve looking up her phone number since Rikarah didn't possess it, the door to the coffee house opened. Rikarah straightened, fixed a friendly but not scary smile on her face to greet her customer. But her smile quickly disappeared as she realized that the person hurrying toward her, head down, was not a customer, but Astrid. Astrid hurried past her behind the counter, quickly ducking down out of sight as she fiddled aimlessly with her purse. Rikarah stared after her, eyebrows raised. 21

" Uh- Astrid. Not to nag, but do you know what time it is?" she asked. " You were supposed to be here an hour and a half ago. It hasn't been busy, but I mean, if Mark knew he'd probably fire you. You've heard the way he's been after you."22

" I'm sorry," she said, and her voice sounded odd, thick, almost teary. " I would have come earlier..." her voice trailed off, and she didn't finish her thought. Nor did she emerge from her crouched position on the floor.23

What was with her? Rikarah wondered. She would have figured she was stoned or drunk or something, from her disoriented behavior, but Astrid had never seen the type to her. Besides, she seemed more upset than screwed up- she seemed near tears.24

Rikarah glanced around hastily- there was only one customer in the place, an old man sitting in a corner. He didn't seem as if he'd need her, nor was he paying attention. She slipped behind the counter and crouched beside Astrid, who quickly hid her face.25

" Okay, what's up?" she asked. " I know something's wrong."26

Astrid didn't look up; she continued to fiddle with her purse, although she clearly didn't really need anything out of it. 27

"Astrid," Rikarah said, voice pitched low. " What-is-the-matter?" Instinctively she reached a hand to touch her arm. To her slight surprise- and increased interest- Astrid flinched horribly, jerking as if she had been seared by her touch. Her head snapped up reflexively, and she was looking Rikarah full-on in the face so Rikarah finally saw why she'd been hiding. Her lower lip was cut, dark blood dried in the crevice- obviously split by someone's fist. Astrid was wearing a collared shirt, buttoned all the way, but Rikarah saw a bruise peeking out above the top of it and knew what had happened.28

" Vincent," she said, her tone not a question.29

Astrid nodded miserably, her face wrinkling as a tear slipped from her eye. She sniffed, swiped at her nose with a shaky hand.30

Vincent was Astrid's boyfriend. This had not been the first time that she had shown up with marks of his "discipline"- be it bruises, black eyes, or even bite marks. Astrid had before tried to cover them with makeup, sunglasses, and strategically placed jewelry and clothing, but it had never fooled Rikarah, or anyone else, most likely. It wouldn't have bothered Rikarah except for the fact that Vincent was using violence to threaten and harm her, to wield his power over her, who was obviously weaker, rather than to entice didn't enjoy it- and that was what angered Rikarah about her marks.31

Astrid had not wanted to talk about it at all the first few times Rikarah had seen her boyfriend's little tokens of affection. Gradually though, as Rikarah babbled to her about meaningless things she knew she wanted her to talk about, Astrid had come to feel secure enough to talk very briefly about Vincent and his "temper", as she put it. She was always careful to act as though it were no big deal, more her problem than his, for provoking him so often and letting it bother her so much. Rikarah had followed her lead, reacting casually, as if her comments about him were no big deal, but she had been listening closely, storing up as much knowledge about Astrid's boyfriend with a temper as she could.32

Now Rikarah smiled at her, a gentle, reassuring smile to soothe her. " It's okay, Astrid- just go fix yourself up in the restroom. Take as long as you want, I'll cover for you," she told her.33

Stammering a shaky 'thanks', not meeting her eyes, Astrid stood with difficulty and headed toward the bathroom, shoulders hunched. Rikarah watched her retreating back, but her thoughts were not on Astrid, but her boyfriend Vincent...34


Behind the counter of The Edge, the bar/club he worked nights at, Gavin turned the taps off and handed the drink he had just made to the girl standing before him. She flashed him a hurried but nevertheless sexy smile as she sashayed over to the dance floor, drink in hand. Gavin watched her for a few moments, his smile lingering. It was only 8:00 p.m., but already people were streaming into the place.36

His attention was shifted as a man plopped down heavily on the bar stool before him. His hair was unkempt, hanging over his eye as if he'd been constantly running his hands through it, and he kept his face down as he mumbled blearily, " I need a drink bad."37

Gavin frowned at him slightly- it looked like he'd already had quite a few. " What would you like, sir?" he asked neutrally, but his eyes scanned the man more carefully. Something about him looked familiar, something he couldn't quite put his finger on.38

" I don't know, Jack Daniels," he murmured. He raised his face slightly, and Gavin saw with sudden realization why the man had seemed as if he knew him. He was Brent, a guy who usually came in every Friday with his girlfriend, Azalea. Brent and Azalea always seemed to be having such a great time, laughing and dancing with contagious energy, unable to keep their hands off each other. Brent was a friendly guy as well - he always spoke with Gavin when he took them their drinks, joking around, but not in the drunken, obnoxious way most people, particularly guys, who tried to talk to bartenders usually did. He was one of the few customers Gavin was on a first name basis with, and also one of the few he actually didn't mind talking to.39

Now Brent's eyes were bloodshot, his face pale in some places, reddened in others, and he stared with tortured eyes at Gavin as though he didn't know him. Gavin noticed for the first time that Azalea was not on the stool beside him.40

" Where's Azalea, Brent?" he asked in a causal tone, but his eyes were sharp, intense with his interest at Brent's reply.41

Brent made a noise that was a mix of a sigh, a groan, and a moan. Once again, he ran a hand through his skewed hair.42

" We- we broke up," he said, his voice raw, splintered. " This afternoon- I caught her- she was screwing another guy..." he covered his face with a trembling hand. " Shit, Gavin, I thought she fucking loved me! I thought-" he stopped, making the same half-sobbing noise again.43

Gavin didn't even think to get him the drink he had asked for, nor did he pay any attention to the other customers. His eyes were growing narrow, darker, with interest... a tiny smile played at the corner of his lips, but he quickly concealed it.44

" Wow, that really bites," he said quietly, his tone subtly probing, encouraging Brent to go on. Which, glad to have someone to vent to, Brent did.45

" The fucking bitch- I was going to take her out tonight! I was going to come here- I was going to take her out- she said she LOVED me! I fucking loved her, and she screwed another guy! I was going to propose- I was going to buy a ring and everything- I loved her," Brent said, his voice breaking. He half-turned away from Gavin, shaking his head in disbelief at his luck. Gavin did as well, very sympathetically.46

Abruptly Brent froze, his breath catching. He stared at a place in the distance, off near the entrance. Gavin followed his gaze and saw that he was staring at a couple who had just arrived- an attractive man with longish dark hair and a pretty blonde woman, hanging on his arm and laughing with brightly red lipsticked lips. The woman, Gavin realized, was Azalea, and she had obviously not shown up alone.47

" Oh shit," Brent breathed, sucking in his breath as though it hurt. " Oh god. She just has to- she has to go where she knows we always went, on the same day, like-" he paused, too upset to finish. " How can she- what the hell is she trying to pull? What are the chances?" 48

He stood up so quickly he almost fell over off the stool. Muttering more to himself than to Gavin, he said, " I can't take this, I can't sit here with her- her and HIM..."49

He almost ran to the doorway, pushing rudely past all the others in the bar. Azalea and her date didn't seem to notice- they seemed far too busy with each other to look around. Gavin regarded her thoughtfully, thinking, thinking...50

A few minutes later she came up to him at the bar, flipping her hair behind her shoulder and bestowing on him a slow, sexy smile. Gavin looked her up and down quickly but meticulously- and yes, she met his ideals...51

She was alone, having left her date on the floor- probably temporarily, Gavin thought, but by the end of the night, that would change...52

" Hi," she said, her voice low, husky- purposely, Gavin judged. " You're Gavin, right?"53

Gavin smiled back, knowing exactly how charismatic, seductive, he appeared to her.54

" Right," he said. " And you're Azalea- I couldn't forget that name. Especially when it goes with that... face."55

Azalea giggled, and she leaned closer to him, resting seemingly casually against the counter, but Gavin noticed how the position made her breasts pop out of her rather low cut tank and suspected it was a calculated pose.56

" You're so sweet," she murmured. " Keep talking, Gavin."57

And Gavin did, his tone silky, expertly weaving the web of words he knew she wanted to hear... and as he predicted, it wasn't very long before her date was the last thing on her mind.58


Gavin barely heard a word Azalea said as they stood on the porch of Rikarah's and his apartment. He eased his key out of one of the several pockets inside his long black trenchcoat, inserting it in the lock. Azalea clung to his arm, chatting breathlessly in a slurred voice, laughing often. He could smell the liquor on her breath, although she was probably five inches shorter than he- she had gotten quite drunk.60

As the door swung open, he gestured grandly inside, every inch the gentleman.61

" This way, my lady... enter my humble abode."62

Azalea giggled shrilly, as if that was the funniest thing she'd ever heard. As she stepped up she stumbled, would have fallen had Gavin not caught her arm. 63

" Easy there," he said quietly. " You're walking on uneven ground."64

At that, Azalea shrieked with laughter, the harsh, loud sound grating on Gavin's nerves, not to mention his ears. Brent was insane, he thought to himself in faint disbelief. He was THAT upset to be rid of this woman?65

" You're so funny, Gav," the girl giggled, red streaking her cheeks, her nearly bare chest. " Can I call you Gav..."66

Gavin tightened an arm around her too-tanned shoulders, appearing affectionate, but she wasn't watching the way his jaw clinched.67

" You can call me whatever you want, dollface," he replied softly. As Azalea stared up at him, swaying slightly on her feet, a silly smile on her face, he bent down and kissed her softly, more like a brush of lips than an actual kiss. Her lips parted, and she sighed, eyes widening. He kissed her again, and her arms snaked around his neck, her long painted fingernails biting into his skin. He made himself be still, pretending not to notice, and kissed her again, longer, firmer.68

When they pulled apart, she seemed short of breath, her eyes dull, but excited. He smiled, slow, alluring...69

" Would you like to go upstairs?" he asked softly.70

Azalea's smile expanded, and to Gavin's amusement, she looked to him like a clown- her bright lipstick smeared ghoulishly, her long hair tousled, mascara beginning to gather in rings under her eyes. And yet she looked at him, smiling so widely, neck arched, breasts thrust out, as though she believed herself to look irresistible...71

" Yes," she replied breathlessly. " Yes I would, Gav, and I'll make sure you like it too..."72

" I don't think you have to worry about that," Gavin said, his voice dry. He took her by the crook of her arm and gallantly escorted her down the hallway, well aware of and enjoying the way she looked at him with such desire in her eyes...73

He watched her with a smile of anticipation as he opened the door of the bedroom he and Rikarah now shared, eagerly awaiting her reaction. For a moment, she showed none- she didn't seem to notice anything unusual, probably because her eyes were fixed only on him. She followed him inside, then slowly settled herself on the bed, stretching herself on her side like an indolent feline.74

" Not very big, is it?" she muttered. " We'll just have to cuddle close..."75

It was a few moments later that she finally noticed the shelf- and the items on it... Rikarah's collection... the three decapitated heads, standing up stiffly on the stumps of their necks, seeming to stare at her accusingly... well, except the one missing its eyes, of course.76

Azalea jumped in shock and let out a short shriek, her blue eyes growing wide. She sat up abruptly from her sex kitten pose, unable to take her eyes away from the empty ones before her.77

" Gavin," she whispered, her voice tremulous. " Those aren't real... they're masks, right?"78

" Oh, don't worry," Gavin said carelessly, waving his hand in dismissal. " Those aren't mine. They're my girlfriend's."79

That got Azalea's attention even more than the masks had. Sitting up completely straight now with an indignant squawk, more alert and sensible, she said rather hypocritically, " Your girlfriend's? You have a girlfriend? What else haven't you been telling me? And what kind of girl likes sick shit like that anyway?"80

" One who's perfect for me," Gavin replied evenly. " As for what I haven't told you- that would be quite a lot, dollface. But don't worry, I won't keep you in the dark much longer..." and as he spoke, he drew a long, shiny knife from one of his pockets, held it up before her stupefied face...81


Rikarah snuggled closer into Vincent's arm, her head against his chest, as she walked with him slowly up the steps to her apartment. He tightened his grip on her, looking down at her with an expression that mingled lust, self-satisfaction, and cunning.83

It hadn't been hard to find him- a few carefully worded questions to Astrid, and positioning herself in just the right place at the right time... then some softly cooed words in an awed, lusty tone, and he was hers for the taking. Hers for the breaking...84

" Here it is," she said, her voice much higher, breathier, than she would normally ever speak. " You like it?" she giggled, the perfect, cute little airhead. Exactly as he liked...85

" Yeah, I like it," Vincent murmured, obviously trying to make his voice deep, sexy. " But I like you more..."86

Rikarah restrained herself from either gagging or laughing in his face. Instead she burrowed closer to him, stood on tiptoe to kiss his neck. He responded quickly, his rough hands holding her shoulders hard as he kissed her roughly, in a way that was more dominating, asserting his control rather than his passion or attraction to her. She responded passively, as she knew that he wanted her to, sinking into his hold and letting him take the lead.87

Finally he released her, letting her go so suddenly she nearly fell. He nodded to the doorway.88

" Show me the way,"he said, but it was not a request. Rikarah nodded, the picture of eagerness, of desire, and reached to do as he asked. She opened the door, and Vincent preceded her into the small kitchen/living room.89

" Well here it is," she said brightly. " Not very exciting, is it?"90

The words were no sooner out of her mouth than a girl burst out the door down the hall to their left- the door to Rikarahs' bedroom. She was tall and blonde, with an overdone tan and obviously fake breasts. She would have been pretty, in a Barbie-doll-like way, under normal circumstances, but now the girl was clearly terrified, her face twisted into a contortion of fear and hysteria, streaked with tears and what looked like blood smears. Her hair was tangled and loose down her back, and she was clad only in a tiny mini-skirt. A long, nasty looking cut on her arm bled steadily.91

Upon seeing Rikarah and Vincent, her wild eyes widened in surprise, and then flashed with excitement and relief. She hurried over to her and grabbed their arms, clutching them frantically.92

" Ohmigod ohmigod, you've got to help me!" she cried shrilly, her voice desperate, cracking. " You gotta help me! Call the cops, call 911! Oh, thank god you're here, oh my god!"93

Both Rikarah and Vincent stared at her, but their reactions were vastly different. Vincent was startled initially, but he recovered quickly enough to react to the fact that an attractive half-naked girl was touching him and clearly wanting his comfort and protection. A slow, lavicious smile spread across his face, and he slid his arms around her in a protective manner, beginning to caress her bare back.94

" Hey, it's okay. Don't worry, you're safe. I won't let anything happen to you,"he said in a honeyed voice. The girl clung to him, beginning to sob. Rikarah, however, did not appear surprised or alarmed in the slightest. In fact, she regarded her coolly, almost with amusement... and while they were distracted, she subtly turned to lock the front door.95

" You gotta help me!" the girl sobbed. " You gotta help me, he's trying to kill me, he-"96

" Easy now," Vincent growled, still stroking her confidently. He had clearly forgotten his date standing beside him- not to mention Astrid, his girlfriend. " What's your name?"97

"Azalea," the girl mumbled, still distraught. " My name's Azalea- someone's trying to kill me, you have to help me!"98

" Trying to kill you?" Vincent repeated, frowning. " Who's trying to kill you?"99

Just then a figure emerged from the room Azalea had just left from. Gavin strolled casually into the room, absently rubbing the blade of his knife between his fingers. His eyes fixed on Azalea, still clinging to the aroused Vincent, he smiled.100

" My, you really are fickle, aren't you?" he commented.101

Azalea's head whipped around at the sound of his voice, and she screamed, clutching Vincent in panic. Vincent quickly took the opportunity to hold her even closer to him, the enjoyment obvious on his face.102

" That's him, that's him! He tried to kill me, he tried to rape me! Oh god!" she sobbed. 103

" Rape you?" Gavin said, seeming genuinely offended, even hurt, by her accusation. " I wasn't' trying to rape you. I would never rape a woman. I was just cutting your shirt off." Not seeming to hear him, Azalea turned to Rikarah , who had been standing beside her watching with interest but no sense of alarm or urgency.104

" Hurry, call the police," she cried. " Do you know the address? I don't know the address..."105

Rikarah laughed shortly. Azalea and Vincent stared at her.106

" Of course I know the address," she said. " I live here."107

Azalea's mouth dropped open. " You LIVE here!" she cried. " You're the girlfriend he was talking about?" 108

Vincent looked over at Rikarah, frowning slightly.109

" Hey- you said you were single."110

" So did you, Vince," she replied sweetly. Looking at Azalea, she said, " Yes, I am his girlfriend. But he certainly doesn't seem that he told you that, does it ?" She turned to Gavin, a wry smile playing at her lips, and addressed him for the first time.111

" What are you doing here with another girl, Gavin?" she said sweetly.112

He smiled back, raised an eyebrow. " I could ask the same of you."113

" She says you're going to kill her," Rikarah continued innocently.114

" Yes," Gavin replied.115

Rikarah's smile lengthened, twisted so she looked almost like a shark leering at its prey. " We always did think alike..." she reached down inside her low-cut dress and pulled a knife out of her cleavage- a foldable knife that once retracted, was stunningly long and sharp...116

Vincent and Azalea both jerked in horrified shock, their eyes nearly bulging from their heads. Azalea screamed,beginning to tremble and moan violently, while Vincent seemed frozen. 117

Rikarah tossed the knife from hand to hand, her expression savage, gleaming almost hungrily at their fear. Gavin seemed to glow as well, feeding off their horror.118

" You know," Gavin said to them conversationally, " I used to kill people just because I felt like it. I liked to kill, so I'd kill... there was no reason for it, no purpose. But then I met Rikarah." He smiled at her, in a way more horrifying than loving, and Rikarah's face mirrored his back. " She showed me something better. I kill for reasons now- both of us do. She's made me appreciate the value of artistic expression, but of course, that's her area. We're not COMPLETELY the same. She kills for art- but also, as I do, to bring justice. In other words, Azalea, and you, Rikarah's choice, you two have been chosen to die because you have done something to deserve it." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. " It felt funny at first, killing for such moral reasons, but now- I actually prefer it. It's more of a challenge- you really get to know the victim..."119

Azalea moaned, her body going limp in defeat. Even Vincent, the supposedly tough man who beat his wife repeatedly, blanched in dread at the look in the couple's eyes, as he suddenly realized he was no match for one of them-let alone two...120

Their grins widening, Gavin and Rikarah moved closer, knives glinting ominously...121


Breathing hard from the exertion and the thrilling exhilaration coursing throughout their bodies, Gavin and Rikarah gazed down at their handiwork, chests rising and falling rapidly. They could not seem to slow their quickening heartbeats, could not relax the delighted, mad grins on their faces. They gazed down with pride and satisfaction at the bloodied bodies before them, a heady rush sweeping over them at the sight.123

Finally Rikarah tore her eyes from their work to meet Gavin's, still grinning widely.124

" Guess we'll need a new rug again," she said.125

Gavin grinned back. " Guess so." He pulled her suddenly into his arms and held her tight against him, laughing gleefully into her hair. Rikarah hugged him back, laughing as well. They would have been the picture of sweetness and innocent joy... if it weren't for the mutilated bodies at their feet.126

" So what are you gonna do with these?" Gavin murmured in her ear, keeping his arms around her.127

" Well with Vincent, I'll cut his hands off," she replied. " Because he used them to beat Astrid, get it?"128

" You can use Azalea's hands too," Gavin suggested. " She used them while cheating on Brent."129

" No," Rikarah said, shaking her head. " I can't use her. You know I only use the parts of people I killed myself."130

" You helped me kill her," Gavin pointed out.131

" That's not the same. It doesn't count- I can only use them if I did it all by myself," Rikarah said, shrugging. " It's part of the statement. I'm independent; I work alone."132

Gavin pulled her closer against him, lay his cheek against the top of her head. He craned his neck to kiss her throat, making her arch her back in pleasure.133

" Not anymore," he said softly.134

" No," Rikarah whispered, eyes half-closed. " Not anymore." Turning in his arms, she met his lips in a long, viscious kiss. Their lips fit perfectly together.135