She was certifiable. After she nearly killed my friend and disposed of the hounds we headed back to her building; my new home. Delia was right, my belongings were brought up to my apartment. Someone had taken great care to place everything where they thought I might like it all to go. The color of my belongings made all the white surfaces less overwhelming. The Keeper assigned to me, Kelly, was late, arriving in the afternoon on the red eye. Fog settled in over Seattle and as usual all air transportation was delayed.
I didn’t care too much about it. Delia was nice enough to call an order in for me and stocked the fridge. I heated a few pouches up in the microwave, but by the time I’d finished eating I was restless. We’d come back too early, and I had no idea what I should do with myself.
The options were few. So, going after Nunzio and Jeffery seemed like the best decision. The night was still quiet, but I knew I’d find him at Demolition. He frequented the spot more and more since turning his new favorite toy. When I arrived Nunzio and his mate were dancing. They looked to have forgotten the night’s events and were blowing off steam. Leave it to Nunz to shrug away from anything serious.
Jeffery saw me first. I pushed my hair away from my face and pulled up the collar on my leather jacket. Jeffery tapped my friend on the shoulder and pointed in my direction. A nod of the head was enough to say he’d be along shortly, so I headed to the bar. Something with fire to burn away the night was in order. Whisky always went down nice.
While I finished up my third drink, Nunzio sauntered his way up to the bar. It was a bit quieter, the DJ having taken a little break in his performance. Nunzio had his long blonde hair hanging free. His eyes told me he’d been drinking, probably since he first stepped foot in the door, and more than likely to forget all he witnessed. It wasn’t easy for him to accept anyone as a threat, especially someone like Ravana.
“You know the only reason she’s alive is because I respect your undying devotion, mate.”
“Yeah, yeah. You know damn well she’d rip your head from your body and not even break a nail.”
“That might be, but I’d still have fun trying to end her.”
“Then I’d be down a sarcastic Aussie with an attitude to match. What good would that be?”
“Yes, well you may be right.”
“We don’t need Jeffery in mourning. I’d have to go find his boyfriend and turn him. Does he remember his life with, what was his name?”
“Lance, I think. Yes, he recalls. I hadn’t thought about that. The glamour doesn’t work on vampires. He’s forgiven me though, so it’s all ok.”
“He just loves the life, doesn’t he?”
Of course, he did. Who wouldn’t want to be a walker of the night? Immortality, an insatiable lust, and endless amounts of energy to go with it. I know I was fond of the time I knew I could have. It would be better if a certain red-head would just own up to her need to be with me. I couldn’t let her find Emerick until she gave herself to me. That was part of the deal. Heroes of the night notwithstanding.
“What are you doing here, Mo?”
“I’m so unsettled. I need to get her to confess her feelings. If he gets too close, I’m screwed.”
“He said he wouldn’t interfere, didn’t he?”
“Yes, but that was almost a hundred years ago. What if he’s tired of waiting?”
“You’re immortal. A hundred years is like…a week. Just get her in your bed already.”
“I’m trying, I really am, but she’s so difficult.”
“Too bad you couldn’t knock her upside the head and drag her back to your place. Those were simpler times.”
“This is not what I need, Nunzio. Your convoluted way of thinking is not going to help me none in the least.”
“Then again, I ask …why are you here, mate?”
“I don’t know.”
“Go be the hero, rescue the girl and make her see reason.” Nunzio started walking away.
“What do you think this is? Some fucked up fantasy or fairy-tale? My life is a horror story, and you more than anyone know that.”
By the time I was done and turned around my friend was gone. He’d given me the words I needed, however unbiased as he was. The thing was to get through to Ravana before she found Emerick, but would I be able to? It’s been over a hundred-years chasing after her, only to accidentally find her in the men’s room of that club. I can’t believe I was so stupid not to know who she was.
Then, there were the arrows. How could he have found her or was it maybe someone else with a crush? I wouldn’t doubt the latter. She had an incredulous fan base. Some wished to be inside of her, and others wished for her very bloody demise. At the rate I was going I wouldn’t be able to get close enough for either one. Not that I would see her dead if she were not with me. Though, it would hurt.
Emerick made me this deal when she escaped. He gave her free reign for months, allowing her to. When I finally caught on to what he was doing I asked him about it.
“I want to see what she can become. This, version of her is not what I had in mind for our little one. She needs to develop.”
“She’s not going to be able to develop under your watchful eye, Em. She’s going to fight back, and you know it. She didn’t come back a faithful servant. She’s questioning her very existence.”
“What do you know of it? She is mine, or have you forgotten?”
“I’ve forgotten nothing. However, she should be able to choose her path. Not have it given to her. However, shiny the platter may be.”
“So, what…are you telling me you wish to win her heart? Massimo, have you not realized? While it beats in her soft chest, it is still just an illusion of the blood pumping through her veins. She is just as heartless as I. There is no heart to win. She is to be my life-long companion.”
“You’re wrong. My heart would no sooner work either, if that were true.”
I yelled at him.
“Are you saying you care for her?”
I looked at the meek little thing. Her mousy brown hair was always half up and falling down around her face. She could never quite keep herself upright, nor were she as graceful as creatures of the night. It was like she was a newborn baby having to relearn how to do everything in her life all over again. Yes, I had grown to care for her, while Emerick spent his days making me. I saw to her daily needs, made sure she was as okay as anyone in her position could be. He’d not said more than a few words to her a day since she’d come back. How could he expect she would develop a fondness for him?
“Yes. I have.”
“So, then I suppose I have a fight on my hands.”
I looked at the man in front of me. He was equal to my height, almost six feet five. His dark hair and dark eyes also matched my own, but when he became feral his eyes glowed red. I didn’t know what that could mean or why it unnerved me so, but I did not wish to find out either.
“I could never fight against you. You are my sire.”
“Yes, I may be that indeed. However, if you will fight for the girl’s honor then who am I to dissuade you from it?”
And so, a bargain was made. He could go back on his word. I wasn’t so trusting that I would believe anything different. I also knew that once her choice was made he may still take her anyway, though it would be much harder for him to have her if her heart wanted another.
I wandered around Belltown, not yet returning to the building. I knew what she would ask if she were still awake and searching for answers. Those were answers I never wanted to give her. The truth about her family, and all the years I had to watch over her until Emerick took her for himself. I couldn’t give her that many blows to the chest in one night. She would be better off waiting. I would be better off never having to explain any of it. I was a coward, I knew that. I could also live with it if it meant she never looked at me with pure hatred in her eyes.
Sure, she thought she hated me now. Though, when the sentiment was spoken it never reached the corners of her eyes. Those remained indifferent. That’s how I knew I had a chance. She wanted to give in to me. She wanted to be able to forget all the things she knew were wrong in the world and just be with me. I could see it in her eyes.
I finally returned to the Tower, as I’d come to call it. It was one of the tallest buildings in the area, and I had managed to notice the fact that my floor was almost level with the space needle.
I hit the button for Ravana’s floor, knowing she could simply ignore it if she didn’t want to see me. When the panel popped out and asked for my thumb print I scrunched up my forehead in confusion. The speaker crackled above my head and made me look up.
“Put you thumb in the middle of the circle.” Her voice echoed through the elevator.
I did as I was instructed, and the flat screen began scanning my print. When it was done the elevator began moving upward, and when the door opened on her floor she was standing there waiting. Her hair was pulled up in a messy clump on top of her head. A few stray strands hung down in front of her ears. She was barefoot, and looked naked beneath a sheer white blouse that hung down just past her hips. I could make out the shape of her breasts, the tips of her erected nipples, and a small dark spot between her legs.
She hooked her finger and wiggled it ushering me out of the elevator. I didn’t know what to make of it. She hadn’t wanted me anywhere near her, and after I told her a little bit about her past I thought for sure she would want to keep her distance. I knew her, she couldn’t let go of her anger this easily. So, I decided to tread lightly.
She padded into the apartment, and I followed close behind her as she made her way through the kitchen and to the big iron door in the back hall. The table she’d occupied the night before was pushed to the side of the large room. There were several more silver tables lining the walls and the middle of the room, like an island. On top were circular petri dishes, microscopes, and jars of varying sizes of different compounds. It looked like a room belonging to a mad scientist.
“What’s all of this?”
“Delia found another book. When I got home she pulled me in here. This,” she held up a large book, surprisingly not bound in leather, “is another of his journals.”
“Don’t. I don’t care to hear that name for a long while. What he’s done to us both is revolting.”
I felt as if my ears were betraying me. Had she really just said that? She was choosing, and she hadn’t even realized she was doing it. I couldn’t help grinning, but quickly pushed it away when she turned back to face me.
“Delia thinks we could compare his experiments with some of our own.”
“How? We don’t have the right kind of candidate.”
“True, the hunters have pretty much all gone; died off or turned vampire, thanks to him. However, we could use your blood. Inject it into a few test subjects, and see what we can come up with.”
“Who would the test subjects be? You can mix it with vampires, but the results would be off. You can’t honestly think to use humans…that’s not what a hunter and protector of humans would do.”
Her head snapped up, her hair bouncing. “I’m not a protector of humans. They spend far too much time destroying each other without dark creatures intervening. I’ve given up on protecting them years ago. Far too many to count. However, I won’t knowingly put any in danger. No, we can use piglets.” She pulled a door open in the back of the room that blended in with the stainless walls. I hadn’t even seen it the night before. Though, I wasn’t really paying attention to the tour.
She padded with bare feet around the room. The look she wore on her face said she was deep in thought. Maybe she realized changing me was out of the question. If Emerick could have done it, maybe he would have. Unless he wanted to be the only one of his kind.
“This journal hints at what compounds he used to fuse the hunter gene with vampire DNA.”
“How would someone go about fusing DNA?”
“How am I supposed to know, do I look like a Keeper?” She moved over to one of the tables, bent over and picked up a box of the little dishes. That’s when I realized when I saw the dark spot through her blouse that it was a black satin thong. Ravana moved the box to the top of the table. “I’m just the bank funding this little project.”
“Because, I can. Listen, I get we may not be able to change what he did, but we might be able to figure out a way to stop him from doing it again. If there are other hunters still out there.”
“So, you’re okay with not being able to change me?”
“Don’t get your hopes up, Massimo. I still don’t like you. There’s no saying I would if we could change anything.”
She was a vision. Her hair was a mess, her face unpainted, walking around barefoot in just her oversized blouse and I was suddenly so undone. I fell heads over heels right there. Sure, I’d wanted her. I wanted to feel her around me, but this was so much more. How was that even possible? I didn’t think vampires had the ability to love. Maybe there was more hunter in me than I’d given myself credit for.
“Massimo? Where did you go?”
“Just now. I was talking to you, but it was as if you weren’t hearing me.”
“Sorry, I guess I’m just getting tired. What did you say?”
“I said, Delia and Kelly should be here in a little while. Do you want to stay and wait for her or meet her after sunset?”
“I can wait a little while.”
“Fine.” Ravana moved back to the infusion room. “When is the last time you fed?”
“I uh,” I couldn’t think. This woman had my brain turned to mush. I had to look away from her to jog my memory. “Maybe, two days ago.”
“What? You can’t possibly mean you’re going to…”
“Yes, I am. I want to see how you’d respond. Imagine if all vampires could just get infusions. Think how many lives could be saved.”
“I don’t think it works that way, but I’m too tired to argue.” I sat down on the cold silver surface, then jumped back to my feet. “Silver?”
“Surgical steel. Jumpy much?” She placed a hand on her hip and cocked it to the side.
I sat down again and let the table contour my form. It bent with my legs and the back sat up, like a recliner. It was surprisingly comfortable. I watched Red as she pulled the clear tubing from the drawer and dropped the needle into my lap. She looked at me, her eyes catching mine before she looked down to where the needle landed on top of my zipper. Picking up the wrapper, I handed it to her with a wink.
“Careful. It might bite.”
“Trust me, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d have to bite back.”
She moved the wrapper in her fingers and the corner of her mouth turned up. Her lips were still full and bright red despite the lack of stain. While she adjusted the rubber band on my arm I watched her eyes. Her lashes were full and dark in contrast to her light skin. I reached my free hand out as she leaned over me to insert the needle into my arm and connected the tube. I let my hand slide against her thigh. Just as I remembered, her skin felt like silk; smooth and soft and slightly warm to the touch. She flinched but didn’t move from my reach even after the band was removed from my arm. She hung two bags and connected the tubes and hung them on the metal poll next the table.
My hand moved across her skin and she sat on the table next to me, so my hand had to settle on her knee. I felt the warmth of the blood enter my arm and laid my head back. It was like a shot of euphoria. The spot in the back of my head that kept me focused was all fog.
She looked down at my hand and I realized I’d moved my hand up under the hem of her shirt. I thought surely, she would move away, but she placed her hands on either side of my shoulders against the table and lifted her backside from the surface. My hand stayed still, but with her movements I was soon in contact with the silk covering her apex. Her eyes widened, and I felt the sides of my mouth tug. I let my fingertips move against her, and found the elastic of her thong. She muffled a groan behind closed lips. Our eyes locked on one another.
My fingertip moved up and down against the elastic edge. Her body shifted so she was slightly closer. My arm began to throb, and I noticed I’d bent my elbow slightly where the needle was inserted. I let it lay back down and focused on her panties. Red shifted again, begging for me to move the fabric away from her and dip my fingers inside. I traced my finger once more down then pushed past the silk. She was leaning on the table on one knee, her other leg extended holding her up with the tips of her toes. She moved forward again as I dipped into her warmth. Her juices started flowing as I added another finger playing just between her lips. When I finally let my fingers slip inside she whimpered and moved her other leg up on the table. She kneeled over me. Her hands moved to my waist. The buckle of my belt came apart with ease and with a single touch of her hand on my zipper she released me. Her hand teased my cock, gliding her fingers over and around the tip, then she squeezed me in her firm grasp and stroked.
I could tell she was holding back, not using her full strength. Though with the same abilities I was able to withstand so much more. Being with a human couldn’t match the excitement I felt at the strength of one of my own; hunter or vampire. However, Ravana was something more. I knew the first time I held her against the bathroom stall at the club. I felt it when we’d moved to the alley. I knew there was a reason why I craved her touch, and as the machine began to beep signaling it was finished, I craved her still.
Red, reached over and pulled the needle from my vein. She bent down to my ear and with a whispered breath she asked, “feel any different?”
I had to admit at the moment all I was feeling was her. She knelt over my lap. Still stroking me, and finally I was able to bend my free arm and place my hand over hers. I squeezed her hand against me and moved it in rhythm with her rocking hips. She took the hint and smiled. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
She moved back until she was siting over my legs. My hand no longer able to reach her. I placed my fingers in my mouth and sucked hard, closing my eyes as I enjoyed the taste if her in my mouth. I opened my eyes to see her gaze following my other hand to my still exposed shaft. I stroked myself and her eyes widened.
“If you won’t keep going, then I’ll just have to remedy myself.”
“Oh, no.” She pulled my hand away from me, then took the other as well. She moved off the end of the table and pulled me with her. “This room is supposed to be sterile. Let’s not give poor Delia more of a mess to clean.”
“Hmm.” I didn’t realize the girl doubled as her cleaning service. “You sure you want to move. Last time we tried that…”
“I still shut a door in your face. Yes, I know. How about you just start walking, and I’ll try to close the door after you’re in the room this time.”
Her lips curled up again, and as we moved through the apartment toward her room I was able to feel the effects of the blood in my system. I wondered if she felt the same thing when she gave herself an infusion of blood. It was like my senses were heightened tenfold. My pulse quickened, and my breath hitched in my throat as I watched her smooth skin move through the rooms. I suddenly realized the effects on my body post injection of blood verses feeding on blood was completely different. Not only did I feel energized, but I felt stronger and if I had to bet, I thought I could have ran faster than even Ravana.
I took my chances, lifting her up in my arms as I had done the previous night and blurred us into her room. I stopped just inside her door and set her down. She looked at me. Need rising in her, her heart stopped for a faction of a second, but I saw it. She reached a hand to my temple and with her free hand she threw the door closed.
“What?” I asked as she studied my face.
“The doors closed.”
“So, it is.”
I picked her up and at a normal speed I walked her to the side of her bed placing our bodies in the middle, but sideways. Letting our gazes hold I let my hand travel down the front of her blouse. The first three buttons were open. My fingers slid over the skin exposed and pushed the fabric away from the middle of her breasts. I wanted to take my time with her. The bathroom, the alley, that was a moment of pure need. I wanted to devour her as quickly as possible. Now, I wanted to devour her, but I wanted to drive her crazy in the process.
She lifted her chest as my hand moved to the fastened buttons and I plucked them free of the thread that held them to the shirt.
“I liked this one.”
“I’m sure your Keeper will sew them back on for you.” I bent down, breaking eye contact with her to pick the last one off the fabric with my teeth.
I pushed down around the button to grab ahold of it, noticing the button settled over her sex. I held there for a moment, moving my mouth as if I were having a hard time, then ripped the button free letting the fabric fall away from her. She reached down, her nails scrapped the skin on my back, waist to neck as she lifted my shirt from my body. The familiar sting of the iron wasn’t present. That made me think until she pushed my face into the joining of her thighs. I grabbed at the elastic waistband of her thong and pulled them from her body. The thin strip of satin snapped, and the skimpy garment was thrown to the floor. She moaned, and her knees came up as she thrusted her hips toward me.