It wasn’t what I expected. The taste was so much sweeter.
I discovered him in Kew Gardens loitering amongst the exotic flowers, his fingers stroking the tips of delicate petals. He’d read the detail of each plant’s unearthing and smiled to himself when his eyes moved over the old names. We talked for a while, him inviting me to a drink at a local place.
I didn’t understand what he meant by drink, then. I do now.
Am I glad I went? I don’t know. Eternal youth was nothing that I craved, nothing that I sought out, but I couldn’t resist him.
We didn’t stay long at the bar. His gaze was too intense, trailing from my lips to the dip of my neckline and the softened shadow he found there. He wanted me.
A woman always knows.
The apartment was warm and inviting. Swathes of yellow light heated the walls, dancing between shades of cream and cochineal. He took my hand at the door. My pulse skittered against his long fingers and I held my breath, hoping he wouldn’t notice.
He pressed a soft kiss below my ear as if it was a casual thing to do, but his intentions were far from that. His arm curled around my waist, leading me deeper in. And then I was too deep to think of leaving.
We started in the kitchen, pots and pans showering the floor as intensity burned over the top of intensity. I’d anticipated the kiss. I’d even anticipated the bubbling heat spilling over between us, but I hadn’t expected the need for more.
If I’d known… If I’d suspected…
Maybe I wouldn’t have gone with him to the flat. Maybe I wouldn’t have dampened my lips and secretly willed him to press against me the way he did. Maybe it would all have been different.
But now I can’t change things and even eternal youth has its price.
We’d moved from the kitchen to the living room, him carrying me as we clung and drowned in the delight of each other’s lips. Somehow, the bedroom was too far. It happened on the floor, soaked in an ecstasy of screams.
Later I awoke to find him staring at me, but not the hollow, glassy gaze that I saw since. This was warmth. This was desire and heat and passion on a level almost impossible to reach.
We’d smouldered together for hours, burning away inhibitions and sense, until I finally resurfaced to the soft kiss against the gentle pulse in my throat. It was slow but insistent like he meant much more than I could have guessed. His fingers skimmed the line of my shoulder, yet he still returned to that throbbing vein.
His tongue tickled my skin, damp and exotic, and then he bit.
A shudder rippled through me, curling low into my belly and unfurling like the sweet petals of Kew Gardens. Warm heat dripped. It pooled against my skin, slipped across his lips and dappled my back with splashes of red as he lapped.
If I’d known… If I’d suspected he was a vampire…
I would still have done it.
He’d said he wanted me to be with him forever, telling me what to do if I wanted it too. The blood dripped against my throat, vibrating with my heady pulse. He’d kissed me again and I could taste my blood on his warm lips.
Before I realised what I’d done, I’d turned to him. Cradled in his arms, bare skin on bare skin, my teeth grazed the line of his throat, slicing through his flesh to find the spicy wine beneath. I’d watched him close his eyes in blissful agony.
We were together decades, never aging while the world around us faded and changed. Then the humans figured it out. Suddenly they seemed to understand that their fairy stories were real and that vampires lived amongst them, feeding quietly on their friends and relatives in secret corners of the world.
That was when they started looking for us, figuring out the youth from the forever young. They blew holes through the skulls of all our oldest friends. They said we were barbaric, drinking the blood of the innocent, but we were doing just what they did only we didn’t boil it into a pudding.
I would have carried on running with him.
We were trying to make it to a safe place until the humans forgot about us like they had so many centuries before. But they couldn’t stop. They hunted us, bullets flying until one of them took out my love. His blood spilled across frosty grass, a fountain of eternal youth upon the lawn.
I couldn’t stay. I’d promised him I would run.
Today is different, though.
They think that vampires are dark creatures that can’t be seen in the light. Humans are so wrong. We can go out in the light. We can find them wherever they go. It’s like watching ants, from this vantage, as they scurry about their dirty little nest.
I took a long time to find them. They should have known that we are better, more patient hunters than they are and, without my love, I don’t fear death. I’ve lived far more lifetimes than any others will and in the company of somebody who kept my dead heart warm. Death no longer has any hold over me.
The gun in my hand steadies on the edge of the turret and I stare through the sights at the four men I have invited to the local square. They’re agitated, with good reason. I searched for them for years.
I load my weapon and set my finger against the trigger. They will know the pain that they have put me through. They will die for killing us both that day. And then I will give up this body to be with him.
I smile to myself, aim and squeeze the trigger. Blood sprays and people scatter. I just shoot again.
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