Under her palm, Gabe choked. Once, twice. His eyes rolled wildly in his head as he stared at her melting face, his limbs thrashing as he tried to get away.
Hell, it was just her luck to get a pantywaist groom. She leaned over him and hissed, "If you don't want me to pluck out your eyeballs and shove them up your arse, you'll drink."
He drank. She felt his lips move against her palm again. Good. One less thing to worry about.
Cordelia turned back to Samuel and scowled, not moving her hand from Gabe's mouth as the party-goers disintegrated into puddles of human goo around them. "Just what do you think you're doing? Don't you know this is every girl's special day?"
"You mean, every ghoul?" Samuel gave her a toothy smile, displaying his fangs.
Oh, ha ha. Like this was the time for a joke. Her Vera Wang had puke and pus all over it thanks to his theatrics. "Why are you here, Samuel?"
"Shouldn't you call me 'Master' right about now?" He pointed at his feet. "I'm waiting for you to grovel. Now. Go on and tell me that you're sorry and I won't destroy you."
Her skin twitched all over. A messy clump of what was left of Jennifer slid off her shoulder as she fought for control. The urge to go to her master and beg was strong, despite the anti-control potion she'd been swigging for the past few hours to relieve the call. She had the rest of it tucked away in her garter, but she doubted it was enough to remedy the situation for more than a minute or two.
But, if she didn't obey Samuel, he'd make her pay for the next three hundred years. Some submissive sex, some torture, a lot of apologizing and catering to his needs, and cooking.
God. She hated cooking.
Cordelia hesitated. She felt Gabe's lips move against her palm, whispering Jennifer's name. An idea bloomed - would it work? Did she have a choice?
She leaned over Gabe, ignoring the wet squelch of her 'borrowed' flesh against his. "Repeat after me," she crooned softly in his ear, stroking his cheek as he shuddered. "I, Gabriel Cannon, take Cordelia Le Morte as my wife. I promise to love, honor, and cherish her."
"Cordelia," Samuel said, striding over, his voice hard and angry. "What are you doing?"
Oh, please please please let this work.
"I, Gabriel Cannon, take Cordelia Le Morte as my wife," Gabe whispered in her ear. His body clenched against hers, the spasms overtaking him as her blood began to work. "Love...honor...cherish..."
Close enough. In a triumphant rush, she looked back to Samuel. Her lips twisting in a smug smile as she recited the last part of the spell. "I, Cordelia Le Morte, take Gabriel Cannon as my husband for now and forever more. I promise to love, honor, and obey." She said the last note in a shout.
Samuel stopped in place. "Damn." He studied her for a minute, then sighed. "It's so hard to get ghoul help these days." With an irritated twist of his mouth, he vaporized and disappeared, leaving her alone with Gabe. The horrible pulling sensation stopped abruptly, replaced by a loosey-goosey sense of freedom.
Yes! Yes! It was working! She was free! Free from 300 years of bad puns!
Cordelia struggled to her feet in the layers of bouffant satin, ignoring Gabe as he rocked with shudders, choking on his own saliva. She was too busy staring at the carnage around her with glee. Okay, so most of her friends and Gabriel's relatives had died in some sort of slushy human puree. They'd ruined her dress and she'd spent a fortune on the wedding. And what was left of Jennifer was dissolving off of her too rapidly to fix - she'd have to get a new identity.
But she didn't care. Her plan had worked. She was free! After three hundred years of servitude, free!
"Jenn...Cordelia," a voice said behind her, weak.
Gabe had managed to get to his feet, staring at her with inhuman eyes. Before, they'd been such a pretty, innocent blue. So charming on a handsome man. Now, they were marbled with the putrid green of her blood, and his mouth gleamed with slime. He jerked, shuddering from the after-effects of her taint. "What did you do to me?"
She picked up a white linen napkin from the table and turned it inside out to find a clean spot, then began to mop her dissolving shoulder. "I had to use you to break my master's hold over me. I hope you understand. Nothing personal."
Because you're delectably biddable and I'll be able to rule over you. Oh, and you have a long ding dong. "You're cute."
He flexed his hands, staring at the veins in them as they bulged, showing green under his healthy tan. "And me? What am I now?"
Cordelia waved a hand negligently. "Nothing important." No sense in telling him.
She felt the stirrings of compulsion and frowned as she was forced to answer. "You're a zombie lord."
"And you're a zombie?"
"Something like that."
A smile crossed his face - a very un-sweet, un-Gabe smile. "And I'm your master."
Cordelia wasn't smiling any more. "Something like that," she repeated.
He eyed her, his smile growing wider. "I'm very mad at you, you know. You've stolen my sweet, gentle bride away from me and destroyed my friends."
Funny, he didn't look mad. "Don't forget your family. They got nuked too."
"I always hated Uncle Bob." He flexed his arm, watching his green-rippled muscle bulge through the tuxedo. "I'm strong now."
She studied her manicure with a forced yawn, trying not to seem to concerned. "Is this going somewhere? Because I really have to be on my way..."
He pointed to the floor in a chilling manner. "Kneel."
No! No! She knelt in a puddle of Aunt Selma, irritated that he'd make her obey in her pretty dress. "Gabe, let's be reasonable here," she said, a nervous laugh creeping out of her throat.
He moved forward, his body jerking as he accustomed to his transformation. "So how can I punish you for deceiving me?" He touched her chin lightly. "I'd say I'm mad but I confess I'm rather liking the power rushing through my veins."
She remained silent.
Gabe tilted her face up so her gaze would meet his. "You know they say a marriage always changes things."
No kidding, she wanted to scream. Gone was her sweet, biddable Southern boy. This man was more like...well, more like Samuel. Maybe it was the curse that made them all into screaming alpha-male zombies.
"Tell me what you hate more than anything," he demanded.
"You." When he waited, she groaned. Crap. "All right, all right. Cooking," she ground out.
He laughed, a shredded-sounding noise. "Perfect. I know just what you'll be doing for the next few hundred years. How does 'barefoot and in the kitchen' sound to you?"
It kind of sounded like she should have stuck with Samuel.