Authors: MaryJanice Davidson
He laughed. He looked years younger when he did that. He wasn't afraid at all. And that made up my mind for me. "I promise. Now do it, cutie, before I come to my senses."
I pulled him off the ledge, gently. Brought him to me like a lover. His shirt had a v-neck, so I just pulled him toward me and bit him. He gasped and went rigid in my arms, then his arms came around me in a strangler's grip. He went up on his toes and his hips pistoned toward mine. His blood was slowly spilling into my mouth and it tasted like the lushest, most potent wine ever made. My unbearable thirst became—if possible—even more unbearable for a split second, then abruptly abated. Sounds were sharper, the light—such as it was—became brighter. His heartbeat pounded in my ears and he was breathing in ragged gasps. I could smell his sex, hard and urgent and pressing against me, the smell of musk, the smell of life.
I pulled away. Another thing the movies got wrong. Vampires didn't have to drain a person dry...heck, I'd probably had half a cup, if that much. And it would last me the rest of the night, easily. I could drink more, of course, but it would be for pure pleasure, not need. I bet that creep from the cemetery drank ten times a night.
"No," my dinner gasped.
"Yes, that's all I need."
"Do it again."
"No—uh—what are you--?"
He was fumbling at the drawstring of his pants, tugging, and then his pants were around his ankles and he was pulling his turgid cock from the slit in his boxers (navy, with red stripes, my mind reported helpfully). His erection filled his hand; his cock wasn't terribly long, but was certainly thick, and pre-come glistened at the tip. He gripped himself so hard his knuckles went white and, while I watched in stupefaction, pumped once, twice, three times, and then he was coming, and I leapt out of the way.
We stared at each other for a long moment, then he hurriedly stuffed his cock away and pulled up his pants.
I blinked. "As God is my witness, I have no idea what to say to you."
"Me? What the hell did you
?" He asked the question in a tone of total admiration. "One minute I was miserable as hell, the next all I could think of was—uh—the exact opposite of dying." He colored, the blood rushing to his cheeks. I could almost hear it. "I've never done that before in front of—I'm sorry. You have no idea how weird that is for me."
"Hey, I'm not complaining. Now that I'm recovering from the shock, I mean. It's no worse than what I did to you. Thanks for taking matters into your own hands, as opposed to planting your dick in me."
"You didn't rape that man," he said out of nowhere. His gaze was firm and uncompromising. "If you bit someone and had sex with them...it wasn't rape. He wanted to. In fact, it was probably like he had to."
I didn't want to talk about that. Being overwhelmed by a bloodsucker and needing to fuck them didn't mean the bloodsucker wasn't the bad guy. "Never mind. Let's get off this roof, what do you say...err...?"
"Don’t start. I can't help it if I've got unholy powers and a stupid first name."
He laughed again. It was the laugh that made us friends, which I thought was just fine.
"You need a sidekick," Marc announced. He'd just finished his second plateful of steak and eggs. I was sticking with tea and honey.
"I've already got one," I said gloomily. "My friend Jessica."
"I mean a badass, not someone from the secretarial pool."
I stuck a finger in his face. "First of all, do not mock secretaries, nor their pools—I was a secretary until last week."
"Then you died?"
"No, I was laid off.
I died. In fact, I should take a drive by the place...it's probably gone up in flames by now." I chortled evilly. "When they laid off the admin staff, they lost the capability to call their clients, make their computers work, make the sorter on the copy machine work, place orders for office supplies, update the database, figure out the postage machine...oh, the humanity." I grinned at the mental image, then got back to business. "Second, Jessica is at least twice as smart as anyone sitting at this table. Third—cripes, how much are you going to eat?" During my scolding he'd flagged the waitress.
"I've been a little too depressed to eat lately," he said defensively. "Besides, you're just jealous."
"You're right about that. My mom fixed my favorite meal the other night and I threw it up all over her bathroom."
"But you can drink...?" He nodded toward my tea.
"Apparently. Doesn't do a thing for me...sure doesn't make me less thirsty. But it's familiar, you know?"
"Sure. That's why I stay in the ER. It's depressing as hell and you get no closure, but at least I know where everything is."
"That's ridiculous. If you're so unhappy in that job, leave.
Go work in a nice family clinic somewhere."
He shrugged, looking down on his plate. "Yeah, well..."
"I mean, it must be hard. Working in a children's hospital."
"It's unbelievably awful," he said gloomily. "You would not
the evil shit people do to children."
"I don't want to hear it," I said hurriedly.
"I don't want to talk about it, but it's all I do. Actually, I want to talk to
about it. You've got to—to feed, right? Well, I could get you a list of abusive parents, the ones who like to use their babies as ash trays, the ones who decide to press a hot iron to the kid's back because she slammed the door a little too hard. And you could—fix things."
"A blood sucking vigilante?" I was horrified. And intrigued. No, I was horrified. "Did you not hear me? About how until last week I was a secretary?"
"Not anymore," Marc said smugly. Now that he'd thought he'd found a purpose, his entire demeanor—even his smell!—was different. Gone was the slump-shouldered sad-eyed boy. In his place was the Cisco Kid. "You told me you thought you'd fight crime to atone for your feeding habits, right? Well, where better to start?"
I just shook my head and stirred my tea.
"Well, what's your alternative? You don't seem the type to skulk in the shadows and lure the unwary into your fiendish embrace."
The mental image made me laugh.
"And another thing—vampires don't giggle."
"This one does. And before I forget..." My hand shot out. I pulled him toward me and looked deeply into his eyes. "I'm glad you're feeling better, but if you should relapse, you won't. Kill. Yourself."
He stared back. His pupils were dots; the lights in this all-night café were ferocious. "I'll do...Whatever. The hell. I want. But thanks. Anyway."
I stared harder. Come on, vampire mojo. Do your thing. "Don't. Kill. Yourself."
"Why. Are you. Talking. Like this?"
I dropped his hands in disgust. "Dammit! I've been able to make men do my bidding since I woke up dead. What's so special about
"Thanks for sounding so disgusted. And I have no idea. I—uh—" His jaw sagged and I could practically hear his I.Q. dropping. He stared dreamily over my shoulder. I looked—and nearly shrieked. The psychopath from the cemetery was standing in the doorway of the cafe, looking straight at me. Ack! His hair was a mess, I was happy to see. I couldn't see his back, but he smelled like burned cotton. Good!
"Oh my God," Marc rhapsodized. "Who is
"An asshole," I mumbled, turning back to him and picking up my tea.
"He's coming over here!" Marc squealed. "Oh my God oh my God ohmyGod!"
"Will you get a hold of yourself?" I hissed. "You sound like a girl with a crush. Ah-ha!" Realization hit, a little slowly as usual. "You're
!" I realized I'd shouted and everyone in the café was staring at us.
"What, 'duh'? How was I supposed to know? I just assumed you were straight."
"Because you are." He was still staring over my shoulder, trying to fix his hair which was so incredibly short it could never be mussed. "
always assume everyone is gay."
"Well, statistically that's pretty dumb."
"I don't have to take criticism from an undead breeder...hellooooo," he cooed. I felt a weight drop on my shoulder: Jerkoff's hand. I shrugged it off.
"Good evening," Jerkoff said.
"Fuck off," I said warmly.
He slid into the booth beside Marc. I heard a muffled gasp and thought Marc was going to swoon. "I don't believe we've been formally introduced."
"I was just about to take care of that when you stuck your finger in my mouth." I thought about throwing my tea in his face, but the jerk would probably use Marc as a living shield.
"Ah. Yes. Well, my name is Sinclair. And you are...?"
"Really pissed at you."
"Is that a family name?"
Marc burst out laughing. Sinclair favored him with a warm smile. "Is this a friend of yours?"
"None of your fucking business."
"She talked me out of jumping to a grisly death," Marc informed my archenemy. "Then we came here to plot about all the abusive parents we're going to put an end to."
Sinclair's nostrils flared, he leaned in close for a good look at Marc's neck (a bruise was rapidly forming, but there were no signs of teeth marks), then he looked at me. "You have fed on this man?"
I blushed. Or at least, I felt like I blushed—who knew if I still could? "Again: none of your fucking business."
He drummed his fingers on the table. I tried not to stare. They were sooo long and slim, and I had a vague idea of the power in them. "Interesting. And here you both are now. Hmm."
"Want to join us?" Marc piped up. I groaned, but they both ignored me. "Have a cup of coffee or something?"
"I don't drink...coffee."
"Oh, very funny," I snapped. "What are you doing here, Sink Lair? If it's about the bill for your coat, too damned bad—you brought that on yourself."
"Indeed." His gaze was cool. "A matter I will bring up with you shortly, but as to your question, I am here for your benefit, my dear."
"Don't call me that."
"You can call
that," Marc chirped helpfully.
"Nostro wants you dead for your actions tonight. The vampire who brings him your head will be richly rewarded."
"Who the hell is Noseo?"
"Nostro. He's—I suppose you would call him a tribal chief. Sometimes—often—vampires band together and the strongest is in charge."
"Why in the hell do they do that?" I griped. "Why don't they just go about their own business like they did before they died?"
"Because they are not allowed to. The vampires are forced to take sides."
"Nobody's forced me."
"We will attend to that later—"
"—but to answer your question, the undead band together for protection. For a sense of security."
"So this guy Notso is torqued off because I didn't play the game?"
"That, and because of the peals of hysterical laughter which burst from your chest."
Marc had been following the conversation quite closely, and now he stared at me. "The head vamp wanted you do to something, and you laughed at him?"
"For quite some time," Sink Lair added helpfully.