Picture - #12
Disclaimer: Story mine, characters mine.
“So will you sleep with me?”
I watch as washed-out blue eyes blink at me once and then once more. I wait patiently for the answer to my impertinent question.
The answer takes me by surprise. I look at her closely trying to see the twinkle in her eye that would signify an attempt at humour. There is no humour in her eyes just an intensity I am not used to seeing from the woman that has been slowly becoming my friend. I don’t know whether to laugh in victory or cry in the wake of the immense wave of sorrowful disappointment that wells in my chest.
“But no biting…”
Her words pull me out of my thoughts and it is my turn to blink in surprise. A part of my heart seems to heal at the words. I should have known better than to suspect her of such lowly motives.
She is sitting on her big stuffed armchair, a cigarette dangling absently from her fingers. She is slightly drunk as usual. I hate it how she tows the line from fun to alcoholism but I’ve yet to tell her so. It seems too personal. Too prying.
“No biting,” I answer with a slight smile.
Her answering smile is no more than a twitch of her lips. A couple of moments pass in silence.
“Are you serious? Like…for real?”
Her question delivered in an even, almost clinical, tone makes me tense.
“Of course I am. You know I never joke about such things.” My answer is terse. I am defensive, I can hear it in my voice. Nothing to be done about it now. Yet I am hurt that she would question my intentions.
She looks at me and inclines her head minutely. It is another one of those moments that I hate. Sometimes it feels like she knows what I am thinking even before I know it myself.
Her voice is serious but without accusation as she answers my unasked question. “We are not exactly in the same league you know.”
I look at her trying to decipher the meaning behind her words. It takes me a moment to understand exactly where she places us in those scales of hers and I have to stifle my laughter. So much like her in truth. I can only shake my head in denial.
I speak although I know I cannot keep the laughter out of my voice. “Don’t be stupid.”
She looks at me, her head a bit to the side as she always does when she is thinking. Her voice holds a sense of wonder. “You are serious…”
The implied disbelief in her tone makes me angry. She is no self-hater nor is she one of those people who have nothing but deprecating comments for themselves. Yet she has a way of looking at you and a turn of phrase that told me from the beginning that modesty is a true part of her inner self.
For a moment I have to shake my head. I have heard others say that some people belong in the wrong era, the wrong world even. I have always scoffed at them. Now I do not any longer. This era is the wrong era for her. She has made a good life in it but it is just wrong for her.
I cannot help but run my eyes over her heavy set frame. I can easily see her as a fighter when fighters were more than pawns in the hands of cowards. I can easily see her as the genial blacksmith in some forgotten village, being the quiet centre of the community.
In her everyday life she plays both those roles in some ways, as much as this modern life allows them. She is no stereotypical hero, no cop or firefighter, but she will help her friends and those she doesn’t know in equal measure.
Hell, I cannot keep the thought from intruding, she will help an injured vampire with no much as batting an eyelid. As always my memories rise up. The hunters that were almost too good for me. The panicked flight that still brings bile to my throat. The single light that somehow seemed like home amongst the other frightening ones.
My quiet almost hesitant knocking. The heavyset woman I first thought was a boy. The helping hand that brought me inside the house. The unflapping composure that helped dress my wounds. The quiet nod when I adamantly denied the offer of a call to the police.
The look of disbelief when my canines flashed as I was being slowly helped into bed. The even calm tones as she asked if I were a vampire for real. The single slow blink at my affirmative answer. The cup of warm blood hesitantly offered a few minutes later.
The clink of glass on glass pulls me from my thoughts. She has poured yet another small shot of whisky. I clench my hands to stop my instinctive reaction to take it from her. I watch as she drinks it in a quick gulp and then shakes her head in gut reaction to the line of fire down her throat.
Blue eyes, bleached almost white, turn to me. She blinks slowly, the potent alcohol making her slow. She nods once. Her voice slurs just a little bit. “Alright then…”
I stand slowly. She hates it when I move faster than she can follow. I take the three steps from the couch to the armchair. I bend down to kiss her slowly, ever so slowly. It feels as if my heart, long dead and motionless, thuds in my chest in a tempo that makes me labour for breath.
I pause for a second as our breaths mingle. I savour the moment. I have been waiting for so long. The thought screams in my mind even though I keep my lips still.
Story by: RHURC BLACK
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