Authors: Jessika Fevrier,Cerys du Lys
Tags: #New Adult, #submissive wife, #Vampires, #best romantic story, #Coming of Age, #may december romance, #motivational stories
thing?" Before, when they dated, she might have understood him without
clarification, but now she felt like she barely knew him. New things came out
every day, didn't they?
machine. The one where you give someone time. Senescence transfusion. Like a
bank transfer. I could transfer a day of my life to you, and you'd live a day
of it." She didn't know if she believed in it, though news reports said
it was a scientific breakthrough. Time was life's most precious commodity,
they said, so dealing directly in it was amazing. Sensationalistic journalism
never appealed to her.
thinking," he said. "My dad works at the bank, he's a loan
consultant." She already knew this. "They're testing it out for
when someone can't make payments. People pay pretty well and there's a big
market for buying right now, so you transfer a couple days and it sets your
loans straight depending on how much you owe."
She didn't know
what this had to do with her. "And?"
He shrugged. "I could do that. I'll give you a week. It's worth a lot.
More than I owe. You can keep it or sell it or do whatever you want. I don't
know how it works but my dad can explain it in his office. What do you
you sell it yourself and give me the money?"
procedures to follow to sell at any reputable place. Banks can do it because
they've already got your information. I could do it but it'd take awhile since
there's wait lists and lines. It's new and really popular. It'd take a few
months before I could pay you."
wouldn't wait a few months. They'd pester and harass her and bother her to
bother Dalton and in the end he wouldn't have to deal with it, she would. How
fair was that? He owed her money, but she got hassled for it?
"Fine," she said. "It sounds illegal, though. Won't your dad
get in trouble?"
one will know. I'll tell him I'm trying to be responsible."
around their home, pondering something to himself, refusing to talk to her
about it. She'd tried cajoling him into telling her, but he wouldn't budge.
She wouldn't like it, he'd said. Well, she thought, if she wouldn't like it
then why was he thinking about it in the first place?
She went into
the kitchen to make a piece of toast with strawberry jam while he worried over
something insensible. As she sat down at the breakfast table to eat, she heard
him talking on the phone. Mumbled words shuffled down the hallway, becoming
garbled nonsense by the time they reached her ears. She nibbled on the corners
of her toast, licking jam from her lips, and waited.
He walked into
the kitchen then sat in the chair next to her. "We're going on
vacation," he said.
what you were worried about?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?
We can visit your mother. It's nice there."
no." He wiped a smear of jam from the corner of her mouth. "I
thought we could go on a real vacation, to an island. There's one in the
Caribbean called Saint Kitts. It's nice. I've been doing research."
afford that?" Robert had a job, a decent one at that, but she didn't. He
insisted she didn't have to work, which suited her fine. It wasn't that she
was lazy, but he seemed happiest when he could take care of her, and she liked
seeing him happy.
to my broker on the phone. There's good rates for senescence in the market.
He has buyers lined up, so I transferred a couple weeks. It should be more
than enough to cover the vacation, spending money, and extra for new
She thought she
should tell him it was unnecessary, that they didn't need to vacation somewhere
exotic to be happy, but she knew it would crush him if she said that.
Undermining his hard work and good intentions by chiding him hardly seemed
proper, especially if he was willing to go to such lengths to please her.
"Thank you," she said. "You deserve a vacation, too. You've
been working hard."
He let out a
sigh of relief. "I've got today and tomorrow off. Want to go shopping
for a tropical wardrobe? Maybe a sexy bathing suit?"
She laughed. "That's
why you want to go, isn't it? To see me in a bathing suit? Maybe I'll get a
one piece to spite you, how about that?"
is fine." He winked. "I think they've got topless beaches."
She rolled her
Gaige pulled on
her arm, tugging her through the woods like a child wanting to show off an
exciting find. She stumbled while trying to keep up with him and her shirt
kept catching on low tree branches and fallen leaves and mud mucked up her
shoes. It was dark, but Gaige had a flashlight. This helped her see in front
of him, but did nothing to illuminated the space around her. She felt like a
vagabond walking through a train tunnel and seeing the headlights of an
oncoming train thundering towards her from the opposite direction.
opened up ahead of them. He showed her to a shack built in the middle,
isolated from the rest of the world. He came here with friends, he said. No
one knew who built the place, but it was abandoned when they found it so they
claimed it. It seemed men, no matter their age, were fond of secret hideouts.
No one was here
now but them. Dust and grime coated the windows. Gaige fetched a lighter from
his pocket and lit a pair of kerosene lanterns, hanging them on hooks in the
walls. Offering her a rickety chair beside a beaten down table, he helped her
live here, baby," he said. "We could farm out back and grow food.
Build a barn for cows and chickens for eggs and milk and meat. It's got
electricity, heat, a telephone, internet, or any of the other basic commodities
they were both used to. She laughed. "I don't think that's a good
do it, though," he said. "Wouldn't that be nice?"
about it for his sake. "It could be nice. Nathan would have lots of
woods to explore when he's older. I bet he'd like that."
See? It'd be great."
curious, she thought. Gaige never cared for Nathan, brushed her son off and
wanted to leave as soon as he came to pick her up. This annoyed her, or had
annoyed her until Gaige stopped calling as often. The only reason she'd
answered his call and agreed to spend time with him tonight was because of
loneliness. She didn't feel bad about it, though; she suspected this was the
same reason he'd called her.
Another bonus to
the real estate, in Gaige's mind, was the stockpile of drugs and alcohol he
kept stored beneath the floorboards. He brought out a box and smiled, offering
her whatever she wanted. She declined. To make up for her lack of interest,
he took double for himself.
He drank, too.
She listened to him ramble about malformed ideas in his intoxicated state. She
yawned, tired, but doubted they could leave tonight. She didn't want to sleep
on dirt covered floors, but she mistrusted Gaige's ability to direct them back
to his car, let alone his ability to drive it.
She opened her
sleep-heavy eyes. "What?"
of that new stuff? You give someone your life, that thing?"
She nodded, barely able to keep her eyes open. She hadn't told him, but Dalton
was paying her a week of his time every month as child support. Her parents
said she should sell it when she had enough to move out on her own. She didn't
want to, though. She was only twenty three, but she felt and looked younger
now, almost like she had when she was eighteen. Not much difference, not
really, but to her it was noticeable.
through his drug cache, snatching out a rectangular box that looked like a
briefcase. He undid the latches and lifted the lid, turning it to show her.
Inside, the same as the machine at Dalton's dad's office, was the senescence
device used to transfer life from one person to another.
"The ultimate high," he said. "Me and the guys are trying it.
We transfer a couple years back and forth. Feels like crap if you're losing
some, but man does it feel great if you're gaining. We don't lose anything in
the end, just give it all back so it evens out." He pulled out the cords
and showed her. "You want to try it?"
Unsure about the
procedure the first time she'd done it with Dalton, soon it became routine.
Perfectly safe, his father told her. If Gaige wanted to partake in something
less dangerous than his usual habits, she could agree with that. "I'll
try it," she said.
He clipped their fingers. "I'll give to you, then we'll switch." He
punched numbers into the machine and started it. "Takes awhile to warm
up. It's an older model."
By the time the
machine warmed up, they'd fallen asleep. She woke in the morning with the clip
attached to her finger and Gaige snoring, slumped over the table. He looked
years older. She felt incredible, invigorated, and awake. Tidying up while he
slept, she packed the machine and latched it into its box, leaving it on the
table. When Gaige woke up, he complained of a headache and said he felt awful,
but blew it off as a hangover.
dead. He died in an accident. A car speeding through a red light hit his
passenger door and sent him crashing into a street pole.
When she first
met Robert, she had looked like she was in her early twenties and he in his mid
thirties. Twelve years later, she looked the same and he looked like he was
closer to the age of retirement. Now she didn't know what he looked like; the
coroner warned her, saying it might be best if she remembered how he last
looked instead of seeing him after the accident.
their house, confused. If she slept in late during his usual work days, it was
like pretending he'd left and would be home later. She took long showers
around the time he would have returned, but whenever she came out he wasn't
One time, before
the wake, she went to their favorite Thai restaurant. The concierge recognized
her and mentioned Robert hadn't called in a reservation. She apologized and
was about to correct the man, to tell him what happened, but he smiled and said
they had a table if she would wait one moment. She waited.
Sitting at the
table for two, she ordered water, two glasses, and an appetizer.
expensive?" she asked, pointing to a price. Twenty dollars for a single
The waiter eyed
her quizzically. "The prices haven't changed since you last visited,
She checked her
watch every once in awhile, acting as if it made any difference what time it
was, and nibbled on her
. She watched the fish, swimming back and
forth. If they had new ones, she didn't recognize them.
The day of the
wake came and she dreaded it. She wore a simple black dress and arrived early,
claiming a chair in the corner. People arrived and some apologized for her
loss, but others glared, angry. She knew what they thought, even if they
didn't voice it. If she hadn't accepted Robert's gifts, portions of his life,
he might still be alive. It didn't matter to them that none of that mattered;
he could have offered nothing and a man still would have crashed into him.
That's what a medical aid told her at the hospital after they pronounced Robert
What if he was
wrong, though? She tried not to think about it, didn't want to think about
it. Robert's mother's glare stuck in her mind and she needed to take sedatives
that her doctor prescribed in order to fall asleep.
The funeral was
the next day. Cemeteries scared her, but she went anyways. No one said
anything to her at the church or the cemetery, which suited her well enough.
She didn't know what to say if someone came to her, to console her or accuse
her or anything else. The funeral ended, Robert was put into the ground, and
she waited. Everyone left, but she thought she should stay.
through the cemetery; her own way of remembrance. She remembered lots of
things. Gaige had died, too, so long ago. In his search for a high, he
overextended himself and gave away all of the remainder of his life to another
druggy. They intended a give, then take, but only one large give transferred
through. Doctors who studied such incidents later coined the phrase
to describe it.
Dalton died a
few years after. During the early years of life transference a glitch in the
process existed. Someone recognized it eventually, but by then it was too late
for many; and for Dalton. When he meant to give her a week, sometimes he ended
up giving multiple times that. His father never blamed her, but whenever she
saw him afterwards she felt guilty.
There had been
another man, also. She loved him, though not the same as Robert. They married
a few months after meeting. A few months after that he learned he had cancer.
Instead of prolonging his life in hopes for a cure, he brought her on one
final, extravagant vacation before committing assisted suicide by transferring
the rest of whatever life he would have had to her. His name was Bridge.
cemetery with no concept of direction or intention at first, she thought of
something and gained purpose. She wanted to see it. How long had it been
now? A lifetime ago, at least. The spot was nowhere near Robert's grave, but
she found it easily.
A tree from over
the cemetery fence shaded a row of gravestones. She scanned them until she
found the one she wanted. She didn't know why she wanted to be here, but she
did. Reading the inscription to herself, she mouthed the name of the grave's
owner: Nathan Rayner.