I stand by the door. Nothing has been moved, yet I sense there is an unbidden presence here. I move my hand up to the light switch then stop.
The fellow at my heels rocks, eager to be inside. A moment sooner and I would have been eager, too. I can smell the blood in his veins. Scents always seem stronger when I’m hungriest. But the scent of his blood isn’t the only one that has struck my nose.
“Come on then. Let me in.”
I turn in the door, closing it mostly, and whisper with a slow smile, “I’ve changed my mind.”
There’s a pause as the door slots into place then I hear the thump of his fist and angry words against the wood. He rails against the outside, but I ignore him, moving to face the room. “Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
“How did you know it was me?”
He steps out from behind the white curtains, clothes an abstract art of black and red. He holds onto his side and assesses me with amber eyes. There are marks on his knuckles and a cut to his jaw.
“I could smell that from a mile away.”
He chuffs a laugh and looks down at his tattered flesh. “I suppose you’re going to eat me now.”
My smile fades leaving serious eyes. “Why did you come here? Strange place for a vampire hunter to seek solace.”
“Strange indeed,” he murmurs before glancing up into my eyes. “And something I can’t answer.”
“Because you’re here to end me?”
“Because I don’t know,” he confesses.
The iron tang of blood gets stronger as I move closer. We both hear my belly growl, but he makes no move to flee and I make no move to bite. An hour later, we sit side by side on the sofa. He is half asleep, his head in my lap as I sip a crimson glass. His wounds are wrapped.
“I’ll end up losing my reputation,” I whisper. He chuffs again as my fingers coil and uncoil in his gruff hair. Since our first meeting he has not spoken or contacted me until now, yet I feel a strange connection.
“What about mine?”
“You have no reputation,” I confirm. “You kill your marks quickly and quietly. They don’t make the news and vampires… Well… We’re not in the habit of socialising much. Unless…” I frown and compress my lips.
He twists to look up at me. Stubble and whiskers age his face. Lines caress his amber eyes and frame his mouth. “Unless…?”
“There are occasional ‘houses’ of our kind living together.”
“The brothels,” he murmurs.
A smile tweaks my lips. “So you have heard of them. They’re a recent development,” I end with a wrinkled nose.
“They aren’t to your taste?”
Thoughts of taste and dinner push in, but I discard them. I’ll snack later when he sleeps. “I was asked to join one by the master of the house.”
“Ah.” He pauses. “Perhaps coming here was a mistake then.”
I frown, fingers stopping in his hair. “You were trying to kill Bellini?” I sigh. “Not your wisest move. And certainly not if he follows you here.”
“I don’t see what he could do.”
I sighed. The human naivety…
[…to be continued]
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