Additional disclaimer (just cause
I felt it was needed):
Hey, all. Sorry it's been so long. I've moved to LA, and have been without internet access. Rhi and I are back online, though, so feel free to contact me and yell at me for anything.... well, not anything, but....
Also, I know there are lots of mistakes in the next five parts of Blood Vengeance. However, I hope you'll bear with me -- I want to get everything written before I take the time to do a thorough edit, cause if I start editing now, I'll never finish the series. If you want to make suggestions, or point out errors in consistency, please feel free. I have no beta reader right now, though Rhi looks over the stuff for most typos (most -- not all *g*).
Yes, there is a sequel to Blood
Vengeance, and I'll post it as soon as I get the first five parts written.
Hope everyone's doing well. Take care.
Nix woke slowly, her body protesting. Glancing at the clock, she saw it was just seven thirty, a little less than four hours since they'd all retired. Frowning, she closed her eyes, knowing no one else was awake and wondering why she was.
She didn't have long to wonder, as the mumbling that had awakened her began again. Turning her head, Nix saw Jesse in the chair by the bed, her mouth moving as her face contorted in anger and pain.
"Jesse?" Clearing her throat Nix struggled to a sitting up position, reaching out to touch Jesse's knee.
The dark haired woman thrashed once more then came awake suddenly, practically springing up from the chair as Nix's fingers touched her. Jesse immediately grabbed the hand and Nix hissed at the pain.
Slowly realizing where she was, Jesse let go of Nix's hand and took a deep breath.
"Sorry, Nix. You okay?"
"Yeah. Remind me never to wake you up from a nightmare again."
"Did I hurt you?" Jesse moved onto the bed. "Fuck, I'm sorry. I just --"
Nix covered her mouth. "Stop. I'm okay. It just surprised me." The vampire moved her hand and stroked Jesse's cheek, watching the fear in her eyes fade to a wary caution. "What were you dreaming about?"
Jesse blew out a breath. "I don't know, really. I don't remember them."
"Does that happen a lot?"
"Just when I'm tense."
Nix smiled at her. "And what are you tense about, hm?"
"Oh, I don't know." Jesse shrugged. "Maybe because there's an insane vampire after my friends? Could that be it?"
"Hm. Maybe." Nix waited a moment. "Nah. That's not it."
Jesse looked at her in surprise, then saw the hint of a smile and the humor in Nix's eyes. She chuckled a little, the tension easing from her body just a little.
"Shouldn't you by lying down?"
"Well, yeah, but there was this friend that was having a nightmare, so --" Nix stopped as Jesse put a hand to her mouth.
Frowning, Jesse cocked her head. "Did you hear that?"
There was a noise from the living room, like someone crying out.
"That." Jesse was on her feet and out the door instantly.
I turned my head and grimaced as the cat meowed again. It normally didn't bother me, but occasionally it got itself locked in my room and I had to get up in the middle of the night and let it out, or it meowed all damn night.
The sound came again, this time a cross between a meow and a half scream, and I realized I needed to open the door. I moved to get off my bed and found myself tumbling off the air mattress, coming quickly to the conclusion that I was not in my room at my parent's house.
Opening my eyes I shook my head, looking around blankly at Tess and Cam's living room.
Another half scream, and I realized it was coming from the bed, where Kruise was no thrashing, even as Dayle tried to grab her arms.
"Kruise! Wake up!" I got up to the side of the bed, just as Kruise sat up suddenly, her eyes wild and staring.
Dayle still had hold of her wrists and Kruise was shaking, staring at her.
"Kruise?" I touched her face and she flinched away. She'd had a few nightmares while staying at our place right after the attack, but nothing like this.
"Let her go!"
Kruise looked up at the sound of Jesse's voice, and her eyes cleared a little as she blinked. "Jess?"
"Dayle, let her go!"
Dayle did so, moving back slightly as Jesse nearly dove onto the bed. Kruise lunged toward her and then she was being rocked in Jesse's arms, crying quietly while Jess held her tight and whispered in her ear.
Jace was watching the two of them with a sleepy but sad expression. Dayle looked very confused, and I probably was a mirror of her expression. Tess and Cam had come out of their room and were watching, as was Nix, who was leaning up against the wall, one still healing leg held awkwardly off the floor.
Jess looked around, realizing they had an audience. She whispered in Kruise's ear, and she nodded. Together, they got off the bed and went into the kitchen, Jesse still holding onto Kruise as they walked.
Cam looked at me curiously, and I shrugged slightly, mouthing an 'I don't know.' She raised an eyebrow and looked at Jace, who was watching the kitchen door, a sorrowful expression on her face.
"What do you think that was?" I asked her softly.
"I'm not sure. It could be from the attack. After all, it was a vampire that attacked her, and here she is surrounded by them." Jace yawned and shrugged. "Could also be just from the stress we're all feeling."
"Good point." But somehow I didn't think it was that simple.
Dayle was looking miserable, having heard Jace's explanation. "Guess I just made it worse by holding onto her like that, huh?"
"Not your fault. You nearly got walloped before she woke up." I gave her a hesitant smile and she tried to return it, failing as badly as I had.
Tess came out a few feet from her doorway. "Dayle, why don't you and Jess switch places for the rest of the night. Kruise will probably feel better with Jesse by her."
I saw Nix's face fall at that.
Dayle nodded and pulled the sheets back.
Kruise came back from the kitchen, looking around at everyone. "What's everyone staring at? Never seen someone have a nightmare before?"
Cam smiled and turned back towards her bedroom, nodding slightly. I breathed a sigh of relief, hearing an echo of it from Jace.
"Where are you going, Dayle?"
"Tess said -- um --"
"I thought you might sleep better with Jess beside you, Kruise." Tess moved in a little, keeping her hands down. "I'm sorry, we didn't think about --"
"Are you kidding? Have you ever slept with Jesse? She snores, and worse, she drools."
"Hey!" Jesse came up behind her and tickled her sides. "I do not drool."
"Do, too." Kruise squirmed away, then waved at Dayle. "G'wan, get back in bed. I'm okay, just a stupid nightmare, that's all."
Dayle glanced at Tess, who shrugged. Looking uncertain, Dayle slid back under the sheets on the sofa bed.
Kruise turned around and hugged Jesse again. I heard her whisper, "My hero," and then she kissed Jesse's cheek.
"Yeah. Get back to bed. And take Nix with you. She looks like she's going to drop."
Jesse glared down the hall at the blonde vampire leaning against the wall. "What the hell are you doing out of bed? You're supposed to be still resting that leg, and you don't even have the brace on." She scowled at Nix, even as she moved over and lifted her in her arms. "Do you want me to break the other one, just to keep you there . . ." Jesse's voice faded as the door closed behind her.
Kruise sighed and turned to Tess. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake everyone."
"It's okay. I'm sorry you have bad dreams about us, Kruise."
A sad smile crossed my friend's face. "No, Tess, this wasn't caused by vampires. This is a very old nightmare, from long before I knew vampires existed." She touched her neck. "This isn't anything compared to what happened then . . ."
Tess looked confused, but said nothing. She put a comforting hand on Kruise's shoulder. "Try to sleep. We all need a few more hours, I think."
Kruise nodded, and patted the hand on her shoulder. "Thanks, Tess."
I glanced over at Jace to find her asleep again. Tess retreated to her bedroom and closed the door. I couldn't tell if Dayle was asleep or not, but she was lying down once again with her eyes closed.
But I suddenly wasn't tired.
Kruise turned toward the bed and saw me still sitting up. She didn't look very sleepy either. Finally she sighed, then nodded and motioned me toward the kitchen. I followed, wondering what new horrors this night would reveal.
Jesse carried Nix into the bedroom and set her onto the bed before moving back and closing the door.
"That was stupid. You could have hurt yourself."
"Well, it sounded like someone was in pain, and I was worried. Especially after you went tearing out of here." Nix turned on her side away from Jesse. "Sorry. Won't do it again."
Jesse stopped as the tone of Nix's voice registered.
"Are you angry about something?"
"No. Why should I be?"
"I don't know. That's why I'm asking. Nix, what is it?" She sat down next on the bed and touched the vampire's shoulder. "Nix?"
Nix shook her head. "It's nothing. Go away, Jess. As a matter of fact, why don't you go change places with Dayle? That's where you seem to want to be."
"Is that what you want?"
They were both silent. Jesse was considering giving up and leaving.
"I'm sorry, Nix. I thought -- " She broke off and stood, running a hand through her hair. "Ah, fuck it. I'm sorry if I'm not what you want, Nix."
She got only a step away before Nix was sitting. "What do you mean, not what I want?"
"Well, you're the one telling me to go away. I figured it was because you want Dayle in here."
"Dayle's my friend. I just figured you would want to be near Kruise. You seem to want her more than me, anyway."
Jesse stared down at the blonde, realizing only now that there were tears on Nix's face. "Is that what you think? That I want Kruise?"
Nix nodded. "I always knew there was something between the two of you. Guess I just hoped --" She broke off and looked away, swallowing hard.
She looked back up at Jesse as the dark woman began to laugh softly. "It's not funny, damn you."
"Yeah, it is." Jesse sat back down on the bed. "I'm sorry, though, I shouldn't have laughed. And I'm sorry you thought that. It's not true. Kruise and I are only friends."
"Oh, I won't deny that at one time we had something, and if it had continued, I wouldn't have been unhappy. But it wasn't supposed to be." Jesse shrugged.
"But that nightmare -- it seemed like you were the only one who could have calmed her down. She wanted you to hold her."
Jesse nodded. "Since I'm a part of that nightmare, I'm usually the one that she calls when she has it. We can talk about it, about what happened. No one else knows."
Jesse sighed. "I don't know that I should say anything, Nix."
"Jesse, think about the things you've heard over the last day or so. Think about who and what I am." Nix crossed her arms. "Now, tell me what there is that could possibly either shock me or upset me?"
"How about the fact that I killed a man in cold blood?"
Nix's eyes went wide. "Okay, yeah, that might do it."
"Okay, Kruise, wanna tell me what that was all about?"
Kruise sighed and sat on the chairs by the kitchen table. "I don't suppose you'd believe that it was just a nightmare?"
"Nope. Try again." I sat down beside her. "I've seen you have nightmares. I sat and held your hand through one night just to keep them away, remember?"
"This tonight was something else. You told Tess it was an old dream. And whatever it was about scared the bejeezus out of you. So tell me what's up, Kruise."
Shifting in her chair, Kruise brought her feet up to her chair and wrapped her arms around her knees. "It was a long time ago. When I first met Jesse. Are you sure you want to hear it?"
"Uh-huh." I moved a little closer so we could talk softly. "Talk to me."
"I didn't come out until I was nearly twenty-one. You know what my parents are like. Catholics with a capitol C and a rosary in their pocket at all times."
"Yeah, both of those things I knew."
"Well, what you didn't know is that I didn't come out all at once. I came out, and then retreated. And unfortunately, it was Jesse that I retreated on."
I shook my head. "You lost me."
Kruise leaned her head back and took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. "I had been going out with a lot of guys. But I knew that I didn't like any of them. I wanted to be with a woman. So, on a dare, I went to this lesbian bar with a friend. I met Jesse there, and --" she smiled. "Wow. Suddenly I knew what I wanted, and Jesse was it, all wrapped up in leather and attitude."
I blushed. "Been there. Seen that. Wish I'd done it."
She chuckled and relaxed just a touch. "Yeah. Well, she bought me a drink, and I was hooked. On her, I mean. She was very chivalrous that night, though. Took me home on her bike, and gave me a very nice goodnight kiss. Called me the next day at the theater I was working at. Asked me out, and I said yes."
"Of course. Who wouldn't?"
Kruise smiled and I returned it. I didn't want to push, and if I made her smile and enjoy the telling I'd probably get more of the story. Kruise didn't like to be told what to do, and she didn't like to feel bad. I didn't blame her for either one, and I'd long ago learned that she talked more if you made her smile.
"Yeah, who wouldn't. She took me to another bar, where there was a band. They were pretty good. We listened and we talked, and she asked me out to dinner and I said yes. She never pushed. Never tried to make me do anything. In fact, when we finally started making out, I started it. She kept it nice and light, and I -- I think I almost fell in love with her."
"Uh-huh. Anyway, I asked her if I was ever going to see her apartment. I'd taken her up to see mine, even though I was living with a roommate at that time. She'd said it was nice but that her bedroom, and her bed, were bigger, and so one night I asked if she'd take me to see it. She just smiled and took me to her place.
"We ended up sleeping together that night. It was great, and I have to say that it was about the best introduction to lesbian sex that anyone could ever have. She was patient, and gentle, and completely opposite from what I expected. I'd seen her with a few of her leather friends, and I'd heard some stories, but -- " Kruise shook her head. "It was wonderful. And when I went home the next morning, I was very happy. I knew what I wanted."
"Which was Jesse."
She nodded again. "Anyway, my parents had called the night before and found out from my roommate that I'd gone out to meet someone and hadn't come home. So, I was about to get read the riot act, and I knew it. I called them, and my mother was very calm when she told me they would expect me for dinner. I went. They'd invited the priest from our church. The three of them spent two hours grilling me about this 'boy' I'd spent the night with, and how awful it was that I was no longer a virgin. Then I got several more hours of brain washing, guilt trips, my mother crying because she wanted a church wedding, and I finally just gave in. They wanted me to go out with this guy that was visiting at the church. He was from Chicago, the son of a wealthy church supporter, out here on business for his father, from what Pastor Nichols said. My mother was happy again, my father was talking about me moving home, and Father Nichols said he'd have this guy, Kevin, give me a call. I agreed, and left to go home."
"You -- you didn't really go out with him, did you?"
Kruise stared down at the table, sighing. "I forgot I'd made a date with Jesse. She showed up just about half an hour before Kevin was supposed to. She looked so good, dressed in her boots and her vest, and carrying a rose. I wanted so much to go with her. But I couldn't. I'd promised my parents. So, I told Jesse I couldn't see her anymore, and I closed the door on her without even taking the flower."
"Yeah. I really hurt her." She sighed. "Anyway, Kevin showed up right on the dot. He took me to this tiny Italian restaurant for dinner, then to this underground club. I was surprised, since he was supposed to be such an upstanding guy. When I told him that he laughed and said he wasn't that upstanding. And then he said, 'I heard you're not really that upstanding either.' I asked what he meant and he told me he heard I slept around. I told him that was a lie, and he laughed again.
"The shock came about an hour later when he stepped away from the table to go talk to someone from the band. Turned out they had just come from South America. And they'd brought back some 'merchandise' for Kevin. My mouth dropped, and I decided to get the fuck out of there."
Kruise nodded. "So, I headed for the door and suddenly found Jesse at my side. She wanted to know if that was the guy I'd dumped her for. I didn't know what to say, and I was so angry. Angry at her for having followed me and put me on the spot, angry at Kevin for dragging me there, angry at my parents for forcing me into this, and angry at myself for having given in." She sighed again. "When Kevin came up and asked if this 'bull dyke' was bothering me, I nodded and asked him if we could leave. He said sure and he pushed Jesse out of the way and pulled me out of the bar."
"Jesse let some jerk push her in a bar?"
"It was a straight bar. If she'd fought back she could have been hurt. Plus, if she got distracted, she couldn't have followed. I don't know why she was following, but -- I'm really fucking glad she did."
"Where'd he take you?"
"No where. He went to this deserted lot by the river, and when I asked him what we were doing there, he just grinned and said I should know."
"Uh-huh. I told him no, I wanted to go home, and he said he didn't mind me being a tease or playing hard to get, but it was time to give it up. Then he grabbed for me. I tried to fight him off, and eventually I got a knee in his groin. He let go and I was out of the car and running.
"Unfortunately, I didn't know which way to go, and I ended up running into a dead end. I turned to run the other way, and there was Kevin. He was grinning, and then he pulled a knife, a stiletto. I swear that thing was at least ten inches long."
"How the fuck did you get out of there?"
She gave me a sad smile. "Jesse."
Jesse cleared her throat. "So, I rounded the corner, and there was this fucker, on top of Kruise, with a knife in his hand. He had pulled her dress up, ripped off her panties, and his pants were open. She was scared out of her wits, and was just trying to keep her legs together. He finally got a knee between her thighs, and she started struggling harder."
"What did you do?"
"Well at first, I didn't know what to do. I was looking around for other people, but the place was deserted except for the three of us. When I heard him grunt and heard Kruise start crying, I picked up an old box and threw it at him, just trying to distract him. It worked, cause he turned and glared at me, told me to fuck off or he'd have a bull dyke after he 'had the fucking whore.' I told him to come try it, and I kicked him."
Jesse took another drag on her cigarette. Nix stayed quiet, letting her tell the story in her own way.
"We fought. He had this fucking stiletto, and a set of brass knuckles. I got the knife away from him, and the next thing I knew I was on my back seeing stars. He'd punched me in the face and broken my nose." She rubbed the small bump on the bridge of her nose. "I couldn't see, cause there was blood all over my face. He kicked me several times, and broke one of my ribs. Then he spat on me and turned away."
Nix watched as Jesse dropped her cigarette into the empty cup they had found for an ashtray. Noticing how her friend's hand was shaking, she reached out, half afraid Jesse would pull away from her.
Jesse just squeezed her fingers and took a deep breath.
"I got up to my knees and heard Kruise scream."
"I'd been looking for weapons, and finally found where his knife had landed when Jesse kicked it out of his hand. I picked it up, and then looked back at what was happening.
"He had Jesse on the ground, and there was blood all over her face. He was kicking her over and over, in her side, in her stomach. She curled up to try to avoid the blows, and he kicked at her head. After a few minutes, he stopped, and looked up at me."
"What did you do?"
Kruise gave me a half smile. "I ran. It was all I could do. But he caught me and I took a swing at him with the knife. He punched me, then grabbed my wrist and smashed it against the wall. I dropped the knife, and he threw me down a few feet away and climbed on top of me. I fought, but --" Kruise stopped and swallowed hard.
"He didn't --"
"Yeah, he did." Kruise nodded. "And it hurt. I felt like something had torn inside me, and I was bleeding, and hurting, and screaming." She took a deep breath. "I wanted it to be over, I wanted someone to save me, to make everything better."
I reached out and put a hand over hers, wishing I could have been there and stopped everything.
"So, there I was being raped and pretending I wasn't and then -- suddenly my hero appeared."
Jesse looked up, seeing the man on top of Kruise. She groaned as she pulled herself forward. There was only one thought in her mind, that she had to stop him.
"Bitch, come on. Fucking bitch!"
Kruise cried out as Kevin jerked his hips forward and entered her.
"Yeah, that's it, you fucking little --"
His words broke off suddenly and Kruise saw his mouth work a few times. Blood flowed over his lips, and then he was falling forward on top of her.
She screamed. He landed heavily on her and she looked up to see Jesse, her fingers wrapped around the hilt of Kevin's stiletto, it's blade bloody.
Jesse stared at the knife in her hand and then down at the body on top of Kruise. She dropped the knife and rolled Kevin off of the woman, gasping as she saw his open eyes staring up at her.
Kruise sat up, staring back and forth between Kevin and Jesse. She didn't know whether to scream or to cry or to thank Jesse or --
Jesse turned away and retched onto the dirt of the alleyway. Kruise waited until the sounds of her hero being sick faded, and then moved slowly towards the woman.
"Jesse?" Her voice was a whisper but was still loud in her ears after the sudden silence.
The dark woman was staring at the body in the dirt of the alley. Kruise crawled closer, touching Jesse's leg. Jesse flinched, and Kruise dropped her hand away. Turning from the scene, she cried, putting her hands over her face.
Jesse swallowed hard, still staring at the body. She remembered crawling over to pick up the knife, and then nothing. Suddenly she'd been looking down at the bloody blade and had no recollection of what she'd done with it. There was just the knife, and the body at her feet.
Kruise's sobs finally registered, and Jesse moved over to her, wincing at the pain in her ribs.
"Kruise? Baby?" Jesse touched the younger woman gently, her hands caressing the soft brown hair. Kruise continued to cry, but turned and leaned into Jesse's arms. Not sure what to do, Jesse wrapped both arms around the sobbing woman and gently rubbed her back. She hummed softly, not knowing if she should speak or not. Kruise continued to cry, and Jesse was willing to hold her until she stopped.
It was nearly a quarter hour later that Kruise finally lifted her head from Jesse's chest. She rubbed a hand across her face and sniffled. Glancing up, she saw blood still coming in trickles from Jesse's nose.
"Jess, your nose --"
"Is broke. Yeah, I know." Jesse wiped the blood from her top lip again, trying not to actually touch her nose. "It'll be okay. Really."
Kruise put her hands on her friend and looked her over. "I saw him kicking you. Did he hurt you anywhere else? Did he stab you?"
"No, he just got in a lucky punch on my nose." Clenching her teeth, she moved carefully, trying to ignore the pain in her ribs. "Come on. We need to get you out of here."
"I --" Staring once more at the body, Kruise swallowed hard. "Kevin was supposed to take me home . . . "
Jesse glanced over as well, but had to avert her gaze as her stomach started to churn again. "We can take his car. I'll drive you home, then come back for my bike. It'll look like he drove here by himself."
Somehow, the dark haired woman made it to her feet, gasping as she felt the pain in her side slam through her. She closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them and reminded herself to take shallow breaths.
Kruise stood and moved next to Jesse. "I saw that wince. Are you sure you're okay?"
Jesse shrugged. "Fine. Ready?"
Nodding, Kruise slipped an arm around her friend and they headed for the car.
Jesse finished her second cigarette and stubbed it out. "So, I drove her home in his car. It was late enough that there was no one up, and she made it inside without anyone noticing that her dress was torn, or that she was bruised. I left her there and went back to get my bike. Called a friend I know to help me wipe down the car for my fingerprints and then clean up the alley. The next day, Kruise called. Said she'd had a fight with her parents and could she stay with me for a couple of days. I said sure, and she moved in with me."
"Was the body found?"
"Yeah. Turns out he was some hotshot from Illinois. They thought it was a mob hit -- of all things."
"Cause it turned out he was a drug supplier. When they searched his car, they found a brick of uncut cocaine hidden in it."
"So, I got home and snuck into the house. I could hide the torn dress, and the worst of the bruising, but there wasn't anything I could do about my face. My parents came over the next day, and they were shocked to see me. I told them a milder version of what happened, that Kevin had tried to rape me, and they freaked. My father said if I hadn't been such a tease and a whore it wouldn't have happened. I actually slapped him. He hit me back, and that was it. I packed my things and got out. Called Jess to see if I could stay with her, and she came and got me in her Mustang."
"Was she okay?"
"Yeah. Turned out he broke her nose and fractured one of her ribs. But -- she's Ms. Tough Dyke, you know? Wouldn't even admit it hurt."
I shook my head. "Did they find Kevin's body?"
"Yeah, and this is something that Jesse and I never talked about." Kruise took a breath. "Seems his death set off a mob war of sorts. His father, while being a patron of the Catholic church in Chicago, was also a gangster. And Kevin had originally come out here to negotiate with some guys about some drugs or guns or something. His family thought the mob here in NY had killed him. They retaliated, and it set off a war."
Whistling, I leaned back. "You don't know if Jess knows that?"
"Nope. I suppose she might, but I never asked. I did read in the paper that they found cocaine in his car. The rest I got from a friend who was still with the church. My parents never forgave me, and that's why we don't speak today."
She sighed. "After that, I moved in with Jesse. She helped me save enough money to get my own little piece of shit apartment, then helped me move when I got a better job and found a better place to live."
"Why didn't you two just live together?"
"Cause. After I moved in, we tried a relationship. It lasted about a week. Every time we touched each other, I could feel Kevin's hands on me. I eventually went to therapy to get over it, but by that time, Jesse and I were very good friends. We agreed that we always would be. She's always been there when I needed her, and I've tried to do the same."
I sat up straight and snapped my fingers. "That's why you and Jesse almost freaked the night we got attacked by the Nosferatu."
She nodded. "Yep. The first thing I thought of when I saw her standing with the knife like that was that, I'd seen that exact same thing, the same stance, the same look, everything. I remembered Kevin falling on top of me, and Jesse standing over him -- I nearly got sick from it."
"Damn. I knew she was bothered by it for a reason, but . . ." I shook my head.
"Yeah. We both had some serious nightmares that week. Lots of late night phone calls."
"You mean, Jesse actually calls you when she has a nightmare?"
Kruise shrugged. "Sometimes. I think I'm as close or closer to her than anyone else is, and since I know the source of a couple of her bad dreams, she calls me and we just talk. Once in a while she'll call, and won't tell me she's had a nightmare, but we'll talk, and I'll just know it. It's something in her voice, in the way she says something. I can always tell, even though she won't always admit it."
I leaned back again. "You know, I always knew there was something between the two of you, and I was jealous. I mean, you're my best friend, and yet there's always been a part of you I can't reach." I gave her a half smile. "Now I understand what it is."
"No." I let my fingers slide across the table top. "Then again, maybe I am. I don't know. I'll still never touch that part of you, and I guess that's okay." Frowning, I shook my head. "I don't' know what I mean. It's late, and I'm tired. This has been a night for confession, first Nix, and now you. I don't think I was ready for any of it."
"Yeah. We talked earlier. Stuff about Star, and how she became the bitch she is."
"Oh." Kruise nodded. "One day you'll have to let me read your journal on all this. So I can find out all the details I missed."
I laughed. "What makes you think I'm gonna write about this?"
"You write about everything, Trey."
Still smiling, I nodded. "Yeah, I guess I do. Does that bother you?"
Kruise tilted her head. "No, not really. Just -- if Jesse ever wants to read the journal, tear out the page with this story on it, okay?"
It was the least I could do for my best friend.
Nix rolled up on her side and looked at Jesse, who was laying with her hands tucked behind her head, staring at the ceiling.
It took a moment, but the dark eyes finally tracked to Nix's blue ones. "What?"
The blonde shrugged.
"What is it, Nix?"
The vampire sighed. "It's just -- I thought knights in shining armor were a thing of the past. And yet, here I find myself sitting next to one." She shrugged again. "It's just a little disconcerting."
Jesse laughed and turned back to the ceiling. "I'm no knight, and I don't have any armor, shiny or otherwise."
"Oh, but I beg to differ. Your armor is leather, but it's shiny black leather, and you go charging through danger to protect innocent maidens such as Kruise, and even monsters such as myself. That's very chivalrous." She smiled. "I like having my very own knight."
Chuckling, Jesse shook her head. "You're crazy. And you're not a monster."
"Well, you're half right. I am crazy." Nix sighed, and Jesse glanced back at the blonde to see a sadness in the blue eyes.
"What's wrong, Nix?"
"Don't give me that. Bullshit makes your eyes turn brown. Tell me what's wrong."
A rueful laugh escaped Nix, and she sighed again. "I'm sorry. Just -- wishing you were here for a different reason."
Nix hesitated. "Because you wanted to be -- with me."
They were both silent for a moment.
Jesse slowly brought one of her hands down and stroked Nix's face with her fingertips. Nix closed her eyes and sighed once more. Reaching behind the blonde head, Jesse cupped the back of the vampire's neck and pulled her down.
The kiss was slow, and languid, with no urgency. It lasted for several long minutes as Jesse tasted Nix's lips, reacquainting herself with the flavor of the blonde vampire. Nix kept her desire in check, knowing that Jesse needed to be in control of this.
When the broke apart, both of them were breathing a little heavier, and Jesse could feel her heart speeding up.
"I don't want you to bite me."
Nix nodded. "What do you want, Jess?"
Jesse rolled onto her side, then pressed Nix back against the mattress. "Just you."
"I can handle that."
The sun was touching the horizon
when the two of them finally slept.
End Part 11