After Sundown Epilogue
Three years later
Marisa stood on the balcony of their villa, reveling in the quiet beauty of the warm summer night that surrounded her. The scent of earth and trees and a profusion of flowers filled her nostrils.
Grigori had promised her the world, and he had kept that promise. And it was an incredibly beautiful place when seen through her vampyre eyes. Sights and sounds, colors and textures: all were clearer, brighter, more intense - as intense, it often seemed, as her love for Grigori.
She closed her eyes. Grigori. He was everything to her, life and breath, heart and soul. He had brought her across so tenderly, hovered over her as the change took place, his deep voice soothing her, assuring her that there was nothing to fear, holding her safe in his arms as her old life slipped away and she had been reborn a new vampyre in his arms. He had been so afraid that she would regret her decision once it was done, that she would hate her new life and hate him for giving her the Dark Gift.
He had assured her that she would not have to hunt, that he would hunt for them both and nourish her with his own blood, and for the first six months of her new life, that was what they had done. Though she'd had no doubts that she wanted to join Grigori in his life, the thought of what she must do to survive had filled her with trepidation. But it had not repelled her. She was not overcome with a lust for blood, perhaps because Grigori's nourished her so completely, perhaps because she had accepted the change willingly. Whatever the reason, it was but a small part of the whole.
Soon after their move to Italy, she had called her parents and apologized for not going to see them before she left the country, explaining that Grigori had been offered a job in Italy that was too good to pass up, and that it had been imperative that they leave immediately.
She and Grigori had kept in touch with Kelly and Edward and Duncan, their lives forever bound together by that one terrible night when they had destroyed Khira. She had been taken aback when she learned of their plans to open a school to train vampire hunters, but Grigori had laughed. ’’It sounds just like something Ramsey would do,’’ he had declared. Duncan was in charge of the school, which was funded by Edward and Kelly. They took on only two candidates a year, putting them through rigorous tests of courage, warning them that they were to hunt only those vampires who took human life indiscriminately, warning them that, should they break faith with the school, they themselves would be hunted.
She stirred restlessly, her thoughts turning toward her husband. And a moment later, she felt his presence in the house, felt her heart beat faster as he moved through the house toward her. And then he was there, his arms sliding around her waist to draw her back against him.
’’Il mio amore. ’’She sighed. ’’It's a beautiful night, isn't it?’’
’’Not so beautiful as you, il mia migliore cara.’’
She leaned her head against his shoulder, content to be held in his arms. They had left the States shortly after Khira had been destroyed. Marisa had been reluctant to leave at first. Her family was there, after
Page 200all. But Grigori said it was for the best, that it wasn't wise to remain where they were. She knew it made him uneasy, having Duncan know where they lived, just as she knew that, in spite of all they had been through, Grigori didn't trust Ramsey completely. She had bowed to her husband's wishes without question. His instincts for survival were, after all, much stronger than her own.
But none of that mattered now, not when Grigori was turning her in his arms, gazing down at her through fathomless black eyes, eyes filled with love and desire;not when he was kissing her, wiping everything from her mind but her ever-growing love and need for this man who filled her every waking moment after sundown.