The locked door swings inward to reveal the redheaded temptress. The scent of her entices and beguiles at the same time. She is not my mate, but she would be suitable for a snack. Pushing my hungered body upright on the twin sized bed, I focus my attention on the black fuzz covering her neck. What is it and why is it blocking the slow pulse I sense beneath her skin?
“Paul! Snap out of it or I’m going to slap you.”
The voice holds a note of command I cannot ignore. My body freezes in place while I struggle to make it do as I wish—to leap upon the curvy one and drink to my heart’s content.
My head whips to the side and the force of the blow carries me to the wall at the head of the mattress.
“Paul. Look at me.”
Cool fingers rest gently against the side of my face and turn me slowly to stare into emerald green eyes. The hunger recedes and my vision clears. A calming sense washes through my limbs and tucks the hunger back into its weak-walled cage. The image before me re-forms and I’m faced with my old boss, Vivian—the one who hired me and brought me to Alaska all those years ago.
“Vivian? What happened?”
She releases my face and steps back a bit. “Nothing, Paul. You did nothing wrong. You’re safe here in the basement. Still getting your legs under you, so to speak.”
Fear clutches me as the memories come raging back. “My family? Are they okay?”
The bed dips as Vivian takes a seat next to me. “Shush, they’re fine, Paul. You haven’t been home since before your shift in the kitchen yesterday.” Her hand runs up and down my back soothingly. “You’re okay and so are they.”
“How much longer will I be like this, Vivian? When will I be able to sleep at home again?”
“I can’t answer that. But, I can tell you you’re doing great.”
“Really?” I bet she’s lying just to make me feel better.
“Let’s look at this another way—have you killed anyone yet?”
A girly-like gasp escapes my lips before I can stop it. “No!”
“Have you drained anyone to near death? Or beaten anyone in an uncontrollable rage?”
I see where she’s going with this and I feel kind of sheepish at my initial outburst. “No,” I say, pulling my shoulders back and sitting a little taller.
“Has the hunger overtaken you so completely that you bit someone, unable to stop your self?”
I hesitate for a moment, because there were times I almost did...
“Thinking about it doesn’t count, mind you, actually doing it.”
“You’re doing much better than I did.”
The surprise coloring my voice is not forced, “Really?”
She throws her head back in a delicate, but somehow full-bellied laugh. “Oh yeah! And how,” she says, once she stops for a breath. “It was not a good point in my life. I was filled with rage and finally had the strength to do something about it.” Her composure comes back and she stares straight ahead at the wall, rather than at me. “Trust me, you’re doing better than fine.”
“I miss Bunny and the kids.”
“You see them every day, right?”
“Yeah, but not being in the house with them day in and day out makes a huge difference.”
“Would you rather be dead, Paul?”
There’s a stillness to my boss now. I have a feeling how I answer this could be very important to my continued wellbeing.
“At times, I miss my old way of life. I have no idea what the future holds. Cooking is hard. I can’t seem to do anything right. Every human who used to be my friend now smells like a walking buffet.” I let out a deep sigh I hadn’t known I held in me. “But, no. It’s better than being dead.”
She thumps me hard on the back and stands. “That’s what you need to keep in mind. Dead is gone. There is no coming back from it—just maybe another life waiting for you; one complete with no memories and an entirely new beginning. That is, if the whole reincarnation thing is real and not just some hookam fluke.” She turns to me with a small smile, “But we’ll never know for sure will we?”
I don’t know what I should be saying right now. If we were talking about food or the best pans to buy, then yeah, I’d have a lot to say. But metaphysical life after death stuff? It’s not something I thought about much in my happy little raising-kids-and-working lifestyle before.
“You need to feed, Paul. Let me call someone down.” She turns to the phone next to the door—after all it’s not a cell I’m in, just a really strong room for me to stay in if I was to flip out. That’s a little comforting, but not much.
“Can it be Michelle?” I ask, hope ringing in my tone.
She turns back with the phone held next to her ear. “Are you for real? Like I’m going to send you a delectable blond?” She shakes her head and turns back to the phone, “I don’t think you and Bunny have worked out you being with other women, have you?” Before I have a chance to answer her, the line is picked up on the other end. “Tommy? What male is next on the donor list? Uh-huh. Okay. Send Bob to my suite please.”
She hangs up and once again the weight of her piercing green eyes skewers me in place. “Well?” she asks while raising one eyebrow.
“Um, no. We haven’t discussed me feeding from a woman yet.”
“Then you’ll be keeping your dick in your pants when you eat until you do clear it up with her. I’ll be damned if I let you cheat on the mother of your children on my watch.”
“It is possible for vampires to feed without sex, you know.”
“You’re preaching to the choir here, mister. Do I need to remind you how old I am?”
I look away, annoyed that she’s right and still feeling slightly petulant that I don’t get to lead the glamorous sex-filled lifestyle I thought was so common in being one of the undead.
She laughs again, and this time there’s no mistaking she’s laughing at me, but damn, I hoped I wasn’t obvious in my thoughts.
You aren’t, Paul. We are connected because I made you.
My head whips up and back to the statuesque woman before me. “Did you just speak inside my head or did I imagine it?”
She taps her finger to her mouth, drawing my attention to the fact that her lips are not moving. I’ve done it before, in times of need. You were too far gone to notice. You can speak back to me, if you concentrate.
I’m not sure exactly what she wants me to do. Is it like thinking, only with more oomph behind it? I look to her and her face remains blank, so obviously my question didn’t get through. I gather myself, like I’m trying to bend a spoon with my mind as if I were a sideshow magician, but staring at her forehead instead. Is this how you do it?
Yes, but calm down. You look like you’re going to crap your pants or bust a vein in your brain.
Her comment has the desired effect; I laugh and try again. Is it still working?
Yes, you’ve got it. To stop projecting, you picture a door closing between us and then you’re safely in your own head alone.
I do as she instructs, feeling slightly stupid to be picturing a fake door closing, but she is the master, after all.
Yes, Paul. I am. You’d be wise to listen.
I picture a huge, steel-reinforced wooden gate from a castle entrance, slamming down in place, shaking the ground with its force.
“Very good, Paul. You’ll go far.”
Vivian moves gracefully to sit at the table and chair set across from my slim bed. “Do you have any questions so far about the change?”
The first thing that pops into my mind is Yeah, when will I get to fuck my wife again? Thankfully, I have enough sense not to just blurt it out.
“Oh, you don’t have to worry, Paul. You fairly shouted it.” At my horrified look, she laughs yet again. “I’d have the same sentiment, so trust me I feel for you.”
“I’m s-s-orry about that. I thought the door was closed.”
“You’ll get the hang of it the more you practice. You ingested over half my blood, much more than the mouthful the rest of the seethe takes. That kind of exchange, combined with the natural bond of maker, will be hard to overcome. It will diminish little by little over the years, but it evolved to be like this so I could keep track of you and any danger that might befall you.”
“Or danger to others around me, right?”
She nods in agreement and a twinkle comes into her eyes. “Do you think after a full feeding today, you might be ready to test yourself with Bunny naked?”
“Yes! What the hell kind of question is that? How many men would turn down the chance to sleep with their wife for the first time in two months?”
She smiles a toothy, wicked grin at me, “I doubt there’ll be any sleeping going on.”
A knock at the door interrupts us, which is good because I’d rather not talk to my boss about having sex with my wife. The mere thought of finally getting to see her luscious curves and hold her in my arms again is making my pants a tad bit tight.
Vivian opens the door to the broad, solid form of Bob from the ground crew. Thankfully, his bearded face and shy grin are just the ticket to deflate my growing enthusiasm.
“Hey Bob, thanks for coming. I’m going to stay because Paul is still getting the hang of things and I don’t want any issues.”
“No problem, boss. This place is cool; I never knew it was under the hotel.” He turns eager eyes my way, “Did you hear the news yet?”
“What’s that?” I say.
“Stephanie told me I’ve been selected to come in as a taster for you during part of your shift.”
Joy leaps inside me at the thought of cooking like I used to. Maybe I will get more parts of my old life back than I thought. “That’s great! I wish we’d thought of it sooner.”
“Rafe mentioned it to Stephanie and I passed her on my way here. I’m pretty stoked to earn the overtime, too.” He approaches me on the bed and… things get a little funny.
I’ve never thought about Bob in a sexual way, or any guy for that matter, but the recent good news—getting to make love to my wife and assigned help in the kitchen—has made me slightly aroused again. It could also be that he smells really tasty. Like steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, and peach cobbler for dessert all rolled into one. My canines descend. I have to hold myself back from leaping on him, tearing his clothes off, and pinning him down... to drink his blood.
“Bob, roll up your left sleeve,” Vivian says.
“Huh? Oh, from the wrist. Okay, boss.”
Relief pours through me and I don’t risk looking up at Vivian. I’m not sure if she knows of the conflictions coursing through me right now, but I’d prefer to deny any homosexual sparks and lock them away deep.
Bob offers his pale wrist to me, and a waft of lye soap reaches up to tickle my nostrils. The steak meal scent lingers more on my palate, almost like I can taste him without breaking his skin. I take his wrist in both hands and lower my head.
The pulsations under the skin beat his excitement, tempting me to bite savagely and drink my fill. A coolness enters my brain and clarity rushes back before I sink my fangs into his flesh.
A small sound escapes Bob as I latch on and start to draw his life force into my mouth. The first swallow goes down smoothly, soothing the beast within, granting me a temporary respite from its grasping claws. Bob’s moans turn slightly sexual in nature and his body relaxes back against the wall.
At this point, his whole mind opens to me like a book, I can shift through to take, or change, what I wish. The craving to feed is so strong, I spare no time to rummage through his fascinating mind. Holding back the inner animal, the one encouraging me to keep drinking and not stop, takes all of my concentration.
The exquisite taste entices me to continue, but the calmness I felt when Vivian first entered the room settles back over my emotions, helping me to remain myself through the feeding.
“That’s enough, Paul,” Vivian says.
With reluctance, I let go, but not before my tongue slips out to remove every last trace of red and seal the small punctures.
“Very well done. Bob? Can you stand?”
“Yeah, in a second. Damn that felt good.”
Vivian approaches the bed, extending the large man a helping hand to stand. “Alley-oop. Let’s get you upstairs and you can rest on my couch.”
Bob nods his agreement and slings an arm around the woman’s slight frame.
In case the topic comes up later, he’ll think this happened upstairs in my living room, okay? She says to me.
Smart idea. Okay.
As she moves effortlessly to the door, she calls back over her shoulder, “Call Bunny now. I’m giving you a few hours—but no biting. I’ll be down here listening if you get carried away. And I will beat your ass, so don’t mess this up.”
Satiation fills me on the basic need of food, and my body surges to respond with the promise of the next need being fulfilled. “Yes, ma’am!”
I whip out a salute she doesn’t see and scramble to the phone to call my wife. The blood pounds to my cock in a screaming rush and I think I may have to jerk off before she gets here so I don’t disappoint her. The phone rings and the love of my life picks up. “Bunny, come to the boss’s apartment in the main building, quick. Vivian says I’m finally ready to be alone with you.”
“Yee-haw, cowboy! I’ll call Debi to come stay with the kids and be there as fast as I can!” Her excited squeal as she hangs up the phone is more than enough to take me over the edge. I unzip my fly to occupy the time and prepare for her arrival.