The Vampire

"Thirst tells you when to go, where to go, how to go and even who to go with... This is the most exciting and scary time in any vampire's existence, and it's where I'll begin my story."

Cia craves for blood in the streets of New York, under cover of the darkness she's forced to live in. She's perfectly clear on what she is and how she must take care of her own needs. And to help her, she has her Mentor, the grumpy Lacien. The two of them exist together, do everything together, and it's driving Cia crazy. Until she meets a human, who seems to pop up out of nowhere, knowing all there is to know about what she is and how she manages to remain undead.

And for a while, everything's good. Until things start twisting in directions Cia had never foreseen, which forces her to reconsider everything.

WARNING: Due to request of some readers, there is no age line. However, the story does contain certain elements that younger readers might consider offensive.

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8. The Date

By nightfall we had left the flat to feed together, saying no words. I found myself constantly searching for his graze, just to realize he wasn’t looking at me even once. And I had no doubt he wasn’t even looking at me when I didn’t try to make him, either. When I asked short, practical questions, his replies were curt and quick, as if I had done something to displease him. And maybe I had.

The deal was I had to go feed with him, just so he could make sure that at least I didn’t get myself killed while feasting on a human’s blood. And then I would be free to do whatever I wanted, even though saying it he probably already knew what I intended to do. And now I could. Still, I found that I was in just a little bit of doubt. Lacien would hate me if I went, but on the other hand, I was curious, and he would hate me regardless, stubborn and closed-off as he was. Not worth the time worrying about, really, yet I found it hard not to.

Lacien was not invincible. He had proven that to me. He was strong, without a doubt, but not untouchable and not carved from stone. While it was hard to imagine what was going on in his head, at least someone drove him to the actions he made, and his physique was not perfect, either. Everybody had flaws and weak spots, and ironically Lacien’s weak spots seemed to be the same as those that made him appear so strong. Vampirism. As far as I knew, only sunlight would and could hurt him. Rocks he would smash, electricity he would dance around, fire he could walk through naked the same as water.

His foot - or leg, or whatever - had healed properly, and he was running fast now, at such a speed that I really had to strain to keep up with him. Even to my sharply focused eyes, his movements seemed a blur in the dark. He wanted to head home, he’d answered whilst wiping his mouth when I asked. A small part of me had wanted to say that I’d go with him, that I could use a night in. But there was something else I couldn’t put off much longer without exploding. The long day’s waiting had been hard enough to endure.

“If you aren’t back before sunrise, and I haven’t heard anything from you, I’ll consider you dead and burn all your things,” he said matter-of-factly as we came to a halt before the building where we lived.

“I won’t be dead,” I said stubbornly. “Try to get over it, if you can. Or come with me. See for yourself that he isn’t dangerous.”

“I have other plans.” He turned his back on me and entered through the ground-level door.

I stared after him for a while before turning toward the Brooklyn Bridge, which would take me to Manhattan. All the lights there were a breathtaking sight, and I took it in whilst running until I could see no more of the skyline because I disappeared into the chaos of tall buildings and traffic jams. Using my sense of smell and a strip of the clothes I had worn the night before, I tracked around until I recognized the scent.

It took me to the corner of Fifth Avenue and Thirty-Third street. To the Empire State Building. There weren’t a lot of people around the tall building at this hour, so I had no trouble sorting out the individuals in the human crowds.

Aleksander was standing alone across the street, watching me as I stepped out of the shadows, hoping that the green contacts I’d put in would cover up all the bright red of my irises. His lips parted, and a crooked smile lit up his face as he crossed the street at a green light and strode gracefully toward me. I had never seen a human moving quite that elegantly, but some were just more naturally in control of their bodies than others.

“You’re incredible,” he said cheerfully as he stood across from me, looking straight into my eyes.

I lowered my lashes, wondering why I was suddenly feeling all shy and girly. There wasn’t much to feel shy or embarrassed or even flattered about when Lacien was around, so it was a nice change. Because Aleksander’s voice was not twisted with sarcasm.

“I told you we’d meet again, right?” I mumbled.

“Bet your boyfriend doesn’t approve of this nightly adventure of yours,” he grinned.

“I don’t have a boyfriend,” I corrected him. “My Mentor - that is, uh, Lacien - doesn’t approve.”

“I think he likes you,” Aleksander said wonderingly.

“He doesn’t. He hates me… But he hates you more.”

“Comfortable guy, to hate someone you’ve barely met.”

“He’s really not so bad after a couple of decades,” I said, smiling a little, glad that I was so full I couldn’t have fed on him, even if I wanted to.

“Is he the one who did that to you?” He touched the bruise on my cheekbone, which I had been trying to hide very carefully.

I lowered my eyes even more. It didn’t even hurt, and Lacien’s backhand stroke hadn’t really been painful to anything but my pride. Yet the blood flowing in my veins was rushing to my cheek, and it looked much worse than it had felt.

“I bumped my head into a kitchen cabinet,” I lied.

“You’re a horrible liar,” he remarked. “Why are you defending him?”

I stayed silent for a moment, thinking. Why did I do that? Defend him… Lacien wouldn’t have wanted that. He would’ve wanted me to make him seem as powerful, dominant and dangerous as possible in front of this particular human. Any other day I might’ve been able to do just that, but not today. My mind was still occupied with what I’d seen of him the night before. Especially the way he had apologized and hugged me.

“You deserve better, Cia,” the human boy told me gently, leaning close to kiss me on the cheek.

“I know,” I whispered.

“C’mon. Let’s do something fun now.” He grasped my hand with his own and started dragging me away from the Empire State Building.

“Where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“Will I like it?” I wondered, smiling again.

“Without a trace of doubt,” he laughed.

We walked for a while, and I felt my fingers intertwine with his as we did. It was nice. The night was full of life, and not one human I caught staring at me more than the average elevator gaze. Not one except Aleksander, but he hardly counted. He was warm and handsome and gentle as he led me though crowds and empty streets until we hit the harbor on the west side of Lower Manhattan.

“Are you going to make me drop my clothes and go for a swim?” I asked aloud.

I wouldn’t have minded stripping before a guy as cute as Aleksander, but he could at least have made an extra effort. The fact that he hadn’t just told me how boyish he still was. If that was his intention, which, frankly, I didn’t know yet.

He hadn’t removed any of his own clothes yet, for which I was grateful. Not that I didn’t want to get naked with him, and not that I didn’t want sex - rather the opposite, actually - but I was afraid I might hurt him if it came to that this soon. I needed time to adjust myself, I found, even if I wasn’t constantly gasping for fresh air to kill the pain in my throat.

I was full. Blood ran scarlet in my veins, mixing slowly with the poison of my body. No human had ever bitten me - and I couldn’t imagine one trying to bite a vampire in general - but I started to consider what would happen if it ever happened. Would the poison spill from the wound and into the human’s mouth, turning him or her into a creature of the night? Or would it kill the one who had made this ironic attempt? Either way, I figured that it was a question I could live without finding an answer to.

“Not quite,” he informed me softly. “Though I wouldn’t forbid you to do so.” With that he swept by me and went out onto one of the piers, which were still lined with boats.

The weather was getting worse, and soon the New Yorkers would be able to go sleigh riding in Central Park. In just a few months… By that time all the boats would probably be gone, if their owners weren’t rich enough to simply buy a new one come spring. New York was never a ghost town, and that was both good and bad. Even when it was cold, people - tourists and citizens - crowded the streets, which made it easier to find prey. But it would have been nice to just walk around freely and show my true self once in a while.

Once I had even suggested that we - Lacien and I - went away for some time, just to be alone without all the humans. He had explained very harshly that I would have to be out of her mind to leave a city such as New York in favor of some small town on the countryside.

I went after Aleksander out to the end of the pier, where a small motor boat was floating peacefully, rocking with every wave crashing into its side. He was smiling brilliantly, and his eyes gleaming with childish joy in the faint light of the pier lamp.

“We’re going sailing?” I felt like a genius. And that was meant as a sarcastic comment to myself.

“Yeah. Isn’t this great?” he laughed, jumping into the boat.

I wasn’t sure whether I thought it was great or not. Watch that little punk of yours carefully, Lacien had told me, and I intended to, even if Aleksander wasn’t much of a threat. Being alone with him on open water was not what I would describe as careful, and besides, someone might be waiting out there for us. If Lacien was right about his suspicions, that’s exactly what there would be. Another boat or something like that, waiting for Aleksander to bring me there so they would have me all to themselves, isolated from Lacien, who wouldn’t have any chance of rescuing me, even if he had followed us until this point.

Cia, you’re not Lacien, I told myself angrily. Luckily, I wasn’t Lacien. I wouldn’t want to be as lonely and sad and angry as he was. Sometimes I wondered if he wasn’t just a little bit mad since he could stand it all. You had to be mad to live practically alone for more than two thousand years, occasionally ruining other, younger vampires’ existences as you wasted your time on nothing.

“I’ve never tried anything like it,” I told my companion with a wide smile that would please him.

It was no lie. I had never driven a car or ridden a motorcycle. I had never been on a boat, other than the old, wooden ones of the nineteenth century. The ones with oars. Technology had long since replaced what I had thought of as a proper boat with a machine of metal and oil.

“Good,” Aleksander said and gallantly held out a hand to me so I wouldn’t fall over the side of the boat. That would’ve been a pretty sight. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

I glanced around uncertainly. The dark waves were splashing against the concrete pier I had just descended from, and the moon hung low and pale over the water to the south. It was breathtaking and beautiful, and I didn’t even mind the loudness of the motor in my sensitive ears as Aleksander started the boat and let it push its way through the water without problems.

Sometimes it was a little more rocky and bumpy than I would’ve liked, but all in all it was a good feeling, floating over all that wetness with such ease. Cold autumn winds swept over us as we rounded the southern tip of Manhattan and continued up toward the East River and one of the most famous bridges in the world: The Brooklyn Bridge.

Getting closer, I leaned into Aleksander, who put an arm around me protectively. His warm body heated mine, and I could feel his heart slamming in his chest like a drum. Dunk-dunk, dunk-dunk…

The view that unfolded before my eyes was truly breathtaking. The cars’ lights flashed in the water, along with the light on Brooklyn Bridge and the tall buildings of Manhattan. On the other side was Brooklyn, pitch black save for the few streetlights that showed drivers of busses, cars, and motorcycles the way. There was very little traffic on the river, but as we passed by a larger boat covered in lights, I glanced at Aleksander. His face was grazed with golden light, and his hair looked like a very bright halo on his head. His eyes met mine, and when he smiled, light was reflected off of the surface of his white teeth. 

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