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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9. The Suggestion

It had taken me a lot less time than I would’ve expected to come to like Aleksander. When I swung the door to open wide and entered the flat, I couldn’t stop thinking about the goodbye kiss he had given me on the cheek, never getting so much as a centimeter off gentleman course. It was strange how he seemed to know what would interest me much better than I did.

We had set out to deeper waters after turning around somewhere along the river. It had been the scariest thing I had ever experienced. Around Staten Island the current had been stronger, the waves higher, and everything just wilder. Or maybe I just thought so because Aleksander had allowed me to steer the boat then.

It had been a little too cold and too windy to talk much, so for the most part we had communicated by smiles and pointed fingers in different directions. Once in a while I had squeezed closer to him, wondering if he wasn’t freezing. And though I could literally see his hands trembling and his lips turning blue as his nose turned white, he never complained about the temperature. Instead he just gave me a caring grin and brushed a hand over my arm or back or wherever it was placed.

Lacien wasn’t in the hallway. Nor was he in my room or the living room, the bathroom or the kitchen. In conclusion, he was nowhere to be found in the flat, and my mind started spinning. Where could he be? If he had gone out and didn’t intend on returning before the next night, he would’ve left a message, but there was nothing to be found. He had mentioned other plans. But what kind of plan could he have for a perfectly normal night like this one? Somewhere in the back of my mind I reminded myself to ask what his plans were another time.

Lacien was old-fashioned, even for that time. He didn’t trust technology much - perhaps because he saw no point in using an elevator when he could run faster, or perhaps because he didn’t eat human food or had other human needs. Therefore, even though this was pre 9/11, he insisted on not possessing a cell phone. And since I knew very few besides him, I didn’t see the point in getting one, either. And even if I did want that, it would be rather troublesome, ordering a phone like that, since - if people took the trouble to look up my name - they’d either find that I had been dead for more than a century or the name didn’t fit the address (that is, if I had chosen a different name).

Frustrated with the lack of communicative devices in my life at the moment, I set to watching the night sky through the window, drawing back the heavy curtains. For a moment I even decided to let the cool air soar through the flat through the open window. I could feel the wind in my hair, tangling the ends. And somehow it calmed me a little. Lacien wasn’t stupid, and he was far too paranoid to let himself get into some kind of trouble. I was troublemaker in our relationship. He was more like the problem-solver. Almost like the calculator to my complicated mathematical multiplication.

I could see the sky changing to the east as the sun prepared its ascend. Daybreak wasn’t far away, and Lacien had still not come home. I could hear people in the building waking up, readying themselves for work. Before long, most of them would be heading out to work or school or whatever they were up to during their waking hours. Downstairs, an elderly woman was yelling at her son, telling him that he was doing nothing constructive with his life, and that he should soon find someone to marry.

When I was a human, the parents were the matchmakers and the wedding planners. Young people weren’t all that free to choose their loved ones for themselves, but life had been much easier back then. No big decisions to be made. I had no such problems. Everything was simple for me. Routine. Sleep, wake up, hunt, kill someone, return home, argue with Lacien, sleep. Next day the same would be repeated. Therefore, Aleksander was a nice addition, something I couldn’t predict.

Suddenly the door slammed open, and I literally leapt two feet into the air from surprise. Hurrying, I closed the window and drew the curtains, willing myself not to stare longingly at the panorama of color the sun was stroking across the eastern horizon. Instead, I turned my stinging eyes - I had probably been watching the light a little too intensely, for a little too long - back into the darkness to find my Mentor staring at me from the door frame.

“There you are, handsome,” I said sarcastically, noticing the dark blue shirt he was wearing.

“I’m not in the mood for this right now,” he warned me moodily.

“I’m never in the mood for -“ I never got to tell him what I was never in the mood for.

Instead my mouth filled with the taste of him as his lips came down on mine, hard and desperate. And within minutes I found myself being gently undressed on the living room floor with a lean, handsome man on top of me. His dark hair was tickling my belly as he planted sweet butterfly kisses all the way down across my skin. And then one step took another, and I woke up relaxed and satisfied hours later, lying with his head on my stomach.

“Lacien?” I whispered. “Are you asleep?”

“If you thought I were, would you ask?” he replied sleepily.

I had no comment for that remark.

“So you two aren’t… what should I say? Dating? Going out?” he went on.

Rage and guilt in equal parts filled my body as I slid away from him and jumped to my feet easily. Only then did I realize I had made the wrong move. Distancing myself from Lacien like that meant my body had answered the questioning tone in his voice without my approval.

As he pushed himself up, he did not look pleased. His movements were fluent like silent water, his anger the quietest of forest fires reflected in those red eyes. I could see then why we’re doing so well in nature. All of the elements are with us. Swift as the wind, hard and solid in our existence as the bed rock beneath all the sky scrapers of Manhattan. Lacien were all of these things, and so am I.

“If I thought I could talk some sense into that empty little skull of yours, I would give it another try. But, evidently, my worst fears were true,” he told med matter-of-factly, calm as a rock, before he turned and leapt into his beloved armchair.

“What is the big deal?” I yelled. “You said it yourself. I’m immortal, he’s not. So what if I’m fooling around with him for the time being?”

You said it yourself. You’re fooling around. You have no idea who this guy is or what he might do to you eventually. And while I’d love seeing you trying to get yourself out of trouble, I know that I’ll be the one doing all the hard work in the end.”

“Nobody asked you to help me. I’m doing perfectly fine on my own,” said coldly. “If you think it’ll be too much trouble, why don’t you just let me die or get hurt or whatever it is you think will be happening?”

He was silent for a long time, settling with his long limbs lazily draped over the sides of the chair. As he turned his face away from me, his dark hair contrasted with the plain marble white of his cheek.

“Do you want to die, Cia?” he asked me slowly.

“Of course not!” I said quickly.

He made a gesture as if he was saying, “well, there you have it”. Not another word came out of his mouth, even though I was staring at him to make him elaborate on that point. Lacien was always so secretive and frustrating to be around.

I turned around on my heel and made for the door that would lead me through the hallway to my bedroom. I had slept for hours, it would seem, but I felt exhausted and wanted nothing more than to lie down and avoid seeing Lacien’s long, dark frame. I had had enough for one day, I decided. After sunset I would go out and see if I could find Aleksander.

Thinking of him made me tremble slightly with joy. Remembering the way he touched me made what I’d just done with Lacien fade into vague memories at once. If Aleksander ever found out, I would explain to him that it meant nothing, that I could never oppose or overpower Lacien when he was in fairly good shape. Still, I felt guilty, and even then I knew I shouldn’t. It was perfectly normal to act on physical needs, even the ones you didn’t really have anymore.

Was that what Lacien told himself as well? That it was a built-in need like the Thirst that he couldn’t push away unless there was something much more important going on? It didn’t seem to fit. Lacien had never been one to act on physical needs. He could suppress his Thirst much better than I could, and when he finally went out to feed for real, he could restrain himself long enough to get an overview, to calculate the situation he might end up in with his victim-of-choice. Carelessness simply wasn’t in his repertoire. Yet there was still the thing with his leg.

So he didn’t act on need in particular, I decided. Then what?

A thought struck me the same way lightning might strike an antenna. It was so absurd that my lips curled into an involuntary smile, and I had to clench my hands into fists to keep myself from laughing. Worst of all, it all happened in my head. If, by any chance, Lacien noticed, he would think me a complete lunatic for behaving the way I did.

Still I turned my head to look at him over my shoulder and managed to rearrange my features.

“Lacien, you’re not jealous, are you?”

He turned his head in a slow motion, his eyes burning, though I didn’t think rage was what he felt.

“I keep telling you that I hate you, and you still think I could be jealous of your little human pet,” he said slowly, no particular tone creeping into his calm voice.

“He’s not my pet!” I shouted.

“Maybe it’s the other way around.”

“You’re just jealous because you didn’t pull yourself together to find someone who makes you happy,” I spat. “That’s not something you can blame me for.”

“Who says I haven’t found someone who makes me happy?” he said flatly.

“You don’t look happy.”

“That’s probably because I’m angry.”

“Why are you angry?”

“Why do you think?” He made a face. “And if you suggest it’s because I’m jealous, I’m going to shit bricks.”

I turned my back on him and shook my head. “You’re ridiculous.”

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