The characters in the story are a product of my own imagin ation and hopefully have no resemblance to any living persons for that matter. But if it does it is entirely coincidental. Some of the places mentioned are either fictitious and or adapted to suit the plot of the story.
Acknowledgements: As always, thanks to my beta, Rose.
Archiving: Please take note that this work is copy written and should not be posted anywhere else without the writer's expressed permission.
Feedback: Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated, so feel free to drop a line or two at firstname.lastname@example.org or sent me a friend request on Facebook.
Sandra stood under the shower, praying that the scalding water could wash away the feeling of utter despondency that weighed on her heart. Did she wait too long? Was she to blame for Iramis having found someone else? Or was she not woman enough for the vampire anymore that she had to look for another vampire? So many questions and not one single answer. Fresh tears welled up in her eyes and she lifted her head to let the water wash away her pain. What should she do now? After confronting Iramis she hadn't even waited for the vampire to reply, not ready to hear all the excuses which she knew would only hurt more.
The bathroom door opened and she quickly pushed her head under the stream of water to wash away her tears. Through the steamed up shower door, she saw Iramis' shadow as the vampire sat down on the toilet seat.
For a moment the only sound in the bathroom was the shower running.
“I've known Adata for close to 2 000 years,” Iramis began. Feigning disinterest, Sandra continued to wash her hair. “For more than half of that time we've been on and off lovers.”
Her heart sank at the admission. How was she going to compete against a gorgeous immortal woman who had been lovers with Iramis for close to a thousand years? She was but an average looking human who after having born two children had to make peace with stretch marks and sagging breasts. Compared to Adata, she looked like a worn-out peasant girl. She needed to get away from here before she truly broke down. Snapping off the shower, she stepped out of the steaming cubicle. Iramis stood and held out a towel. Sandra hesitated for a moment before she took it and wrapped herself in it. She pursed her lips when she realized that Iramis was blocking her way to the door.
“You're in my way,” she said coolly. Iramis shrugged. “Please move out of the way.”
“Not until we've talked this through.” Iramis' eyes were dark with concern. “The kids want us to have a snack with them before they go out. We can't let them see us like this?”
“And whose fault is that?” sneered Sandra.
“It's just a misunderstanding that I hope we could sort out before we alarm the children.”
“Misunderstanding? You think?”
Iramis sighed deeply. “Yes. Let me tell you want you think you saw.”
Sandra gaped at Iramis. How stupid did Iramis think she was? She knew what she saw and Iramis herself admitted that she and Adata were lovers before. Her anger flaring, she pushed Iramis out of the way.
“I'm not interested in your lies, Iramis.” She pushed passed Iramis and left the bathroom.
Swearing under her breath, Iramis followed Sandra into the bedroom. Sandra had dropped the towel and for a moment the sight of her wife's naked body distracted her. Sandra turned and her eyes flashed with annoyance. Caught staring, Iramis blinked.
“I haven't seen Adata in over four hundred years, Sandra.” She approached Sandra but stopped when the brunette held up her hand.
“And what? Did you hope to rekindle your affair while your little, unsuspecting human wife was thousands of miles away taking care of your children? Had I not come here, I probably never would've known. You're a vampire after all. Your kind is quite good at keeping secrets.”
Iramis tilted her head to the side as she studied Sandra. Pain lanced through her as she fought against the anger and humiliation. “I've never lied to you. But if that's what you were thinking about me, why did you marry me? Why have children with me?”
Sandra's face blanched, but she didn't reply. Iramis walked to the door. With her hand on the doorknob she spoke.
“I'll take them to the game room for now. I'll have Killian bring you to us when you're done here.”
Despite her urge to slam the door, Iramis calmly pulled the door shut behind her. For a moment she stood in the hallway, her chin resting on her chest. She needed to pull herself together before she met up with her children. Not that they might pick up on her mood immediately. They were far too excited to be here. This was after all not the first time they were at a vampire gathering of this magnitude and they loved these gatherings. There were probably more humans than vampire in attendance. Even though this gathering was called on short notice, Iramis had noticed that many vampires were still accompanied by their human families.
The compound was located several metres underground, but it offered a lot in ways of entertainment for both vampire and humans. There were child-friendly playrooms, game rooms, movie theatres, restaurants, nightclubs, swimming pools, saunas, you name it. This was like an underground five star resort.
The door suddenly opened behind her and she turned. Sandra had changed into jeans and a shirt. Despite their quarrel, Iramis revelled in how young and carefree the outfit made Sandra look. With her damp hair caught in a ponytail, she looked more like a college student than the mother of three.
“I was hoping to catch you before you meet up with the kids,” Sandra said quietly. Her eyes were still slightly swollen from all the crying. “You're right. Whatever happened is between the two of us and it's not fair to drag the children into this.”
Iramis stared at Sandra, long and hard. Looking at the woman, she was surprised as to how this same woman could bring her so much happiness and could also deliver the most paralysing pain imaginable. She noticed that her silence was unnerving the younger woman and slowly looked away, down the deserted hallway. She was still angry about the things Sandra had said, but she was right, the children should not be alarmed by this. She nodded slowly.
“The game room is this way.”
The evening turned out to be quite pleasant considering the state of affairs between her and Iramis. After a light supper in one of the restaurants, the boys left with Iramis for the video game arcade, leaving Jenny and herself to get pampered at one of the beauty salons. Stretching languidly after the relaxing massage, Sandra looked at her watch. They were supposed to meet up with the rest of the family at the movies. They still had an hour before they had to be there and Jenny was still in the sauna. Sandra grinned. Jenny made a new friend and the two of them quickly coordinated their treatments so they could talk gossip about whatever. It was so good to see her daughter's carefree spirit had returned. Taking a seat in the waiting room, Sandra grabbed one of the magazines and began paging through it.
She was engrossed in an article about nail art when she felt someone taking the seat next to her. Looking up with a polite smile, the smile froze on her lips. Adata sat quietly looking at her.
“You have it wrong, you know,” the vampire said softly, her eyes staring deep into Sandra's.
Closing the magazine, Sandra threw it on the small table. This was the last person she'd hoped to meet again soon. She threw a glance to the door of the salon. She didn't want Jenny to show up and overhear them. “Did Iramis send you?”
“No. My wife sent me to pick up our daughter,” Adata said calmly as she spread her long legs out.
Sandra blinked in surprise. Adata was married? And she had a daughter. The only other client in there besides Jenny was Imogene, Jenny's new friend.
Adata smiled and Sandra could practically feel the love radiate off the vampire. “Yes, she's not comfortable around so many vampires.”
“But…but you…her mother is a vampire,” Sandra said carefully.
“Actually both her mothers are vampires. Imogene will let us know when she she's ready to be converted.” Adata shrugged. “We have all the time in the world to wait for her to make her decision.”
Sandra averted her eyes. “And your wife?”
“What about my wife?”
Sandra cleared her throat. “Does she know about you and Iramis?” It hurt to just say it. Her eyes trailed over the vampire's gorgeous face. She doubt that she'll ever get use do the woman's beauty. It was understandable why Iramis wouldn't give up such a spectacular looking woman.
Adata's eyes narrowed slightly. “Yes, she does and she's ecstatic to finally meet Iramis. But it's still not what you think.”
Clenching her fist, Sandra skewered Adata with a cold stare. “How come everyone assumes they know better than me what I saw and heard?”
“Because you got it all wrong,” Adata said curtly. “Iramis loves me and I love her with every fibre of my being. I will walk through a fire for her without a moment's hesitation and I like to think she would do the same for me.”
Not wanting to hear anymore, Sandra surged to her feet, nausea and heartache causing her to hug her stomach. She needed to get Jenny and leave. She turned to leave when Adata spoke again.
“Wouldn't you do the same for your children?”
Spinning around, she blinked in confusion. “What do they have to do with this?”
“Wouldn't you walk through fire for your children, Sandra?”
The fact that the woman had to ask irritated Sandra a little. She would die for her children. “Of course I would. I love them.”
“Exactly,” Adata said calmly. She came to her feet to tower over Sandra, her eyes were intense. “That is what you've witnessed.”
Sandra held up her hand. “I don't have time for riddles. Now if you'll excuse me, I've to…” She was cut off when Jenny and Imogene entered the foyer, both beaming. Jenny immediately rushed into Sandra's arms.
“Mom, you won't believe it,” the teenager gushed, her hazel eyes twinkling with excitement.
Pushing Adata and her riddles to the background, Sandra cupped her daughter's face, staring into twinkling hazel eyes. “What, honey?”
“Imogene is family. Can you believe it?”
Slowly raising her head to look at Imogene she found the brunette standing with her arms around Adata's middle. She raised her eyes to a smiling Adata. The love on the woman's face was indescribable.
“What is she talking about?” Sandra asked carefully.
Smirking, Adata brushed her lips over her daughter's hair. “Iramis is my sire and Imogene's grandmother.”
Sandra tried to keep her thoughts from jumping all over the place as she tried to make sense of what Adata had just said, but she was failing miserably. “Sire?”
“Yes, mom. Imogene's mother is our sister,” Jenny said, followed by a piercing squeal causing Sandra to quickly cover her ears. “I can't wait to tell Brandon and Oscar. Imo, would you like to come with me when I tell them?”
Imogene looked at her mother and Sandra saw the hesitation in the girl's eyes. Adata gently kissed her daughters cheek. “I'll come with you. Why don't you two give us a moment and we'll join you soon.”
The girl's relief was evident as she followed Jenny out of the salon. Adata turned back to Sandra.
“I know what you're thinking, but if you give me a minute I'll explain it all.”
Iramis looked warily at the carton of popcorn and then back at Brandon. The boy had a mocking grin on his face. For a moment she was tempted, but remembered the last time she called the boy's bluff. For a moment she relived that awful feeling as the greasy pulp that was once pizza made its way out of her system. Just the memory made her want to gag. She shook her head.
“Nope. I'm not doing it again soon,” she said firmly as she pushed the carton back at Brandon. “I'm a slow learner but I'm not completely stupid.”
Brandon chuckled as he hugged the carton to his chest. “Well, it just means there's more for me.”
“Have at it, buddy. Where's Oscar?” Scanning the foyer, she spotted him where he stood in the candy-floss queue. “Brandon, go get our seats while I wait for Oscar. Make sure you keep seats for Jenny and your mom too.”
She made her way over to where Oscar stood and felt her heart melt when the boy immediately reached for her hand. She'll never ever get tired of being a mom.
“Milady, how may I serve you?” the boy behind the counter asked, skipping the other people in the queue. He looked nervously from her to Oscar.
“It's fine,” she said quickly. “We'll wait our turn.” It was so rare that she could do ordinary things like waiting in a queue with her son, that she actually wished they were little farther down the line. Oscar leaned into her body and she gently combed her finger through his hair. Sadness, so sudden, pierced her heart as she caressed the boy. The events of earlier washed over her and she sighed deeply causing Oscar to look up at her. She flashed him a reassuring smile. Not completely convinced, the boy gave her hand a tight squeeze which made her heart clench.
He was so intuitive. But it was to be expected. They took a lot of time and love preparing to have him. He was their love child.
She knows for a fact that Sandra hadn't meant what she'd said earlier, but it doesn't mean that her words had hurt any less. Maybe she should try later to have that talk with Sandra again – now that she had time to cool off a little.
A few minutes later they were at the counter and with obvious pride, Iramis looked on as Oscar placed his order. They were about to make their way to the theatre when she sensed the presence of both Jenny and Sandra. Turning to them, she frowned when she saw Adata and a tall beautiful brunette girl following them.
Jenny came over to kiss her and Iramis grinned at the excitement she felt pulsing through her daughter's body.
“Did you want to tell me something, baby,” she teased as she hugged her daughter.
“Yes,” Jenny gushed. “Did you know you had a granddaughter?”
Iramis' head jerked up as her eyes settled on the shy girl, clinging to Adata. Her eyes met Adata's and she smiled at the warm glow in the vampire's eyes. Disentangling herself from Jenny, she approached the girl and held out her hand. The girl hesitated for a moment, before she placed her hand in Iramis' hand. Iramis gently brought the hand to her lips, staring into the girl's eyes.
“It's a pleasure to finally meet you, my child.”
The girl threw a quick glance over her shoulder at her mother, who nodded curtly. Iramis' smile widened as the girl bowed deeply before her.
“The pleasure is all mine, grandmother.”
Sandra sighed as she reached for the popcorn carton again. This time Brandon gave it up freely, a sheepish look on his face.
Sandra gave him a cold glare. She knew that the job of a mother never ends, but today she felt like she's had full brunt of it all. As soon the light dimmed, Brandon and Jenny started an impromptu popcorn fight which had some of the moviegoers in the cinema glaring at them. Being the offspring of Iramis however, quickly made the offended parties ignore the disruption. But it vexed Sandra more. She had threatened to confiscate the popcorn and it had worked for a while only for the popcorn fight to resume again a few minutes later.
With the popcorn carton cradled against her chest, she looked over at her wife. Iramis was seated between Jenny and Oscar, her eyes riveted on the large screen. Knowing her wife, Sandra knew that the Disney movie was not what held her wife's attention. Iramis was aware of anything and everything around her as she sat there. She recalled the meeting between Imogene and Iramis earlier and for the hundredth time since Adata explained about their true relationship, Sandra felt like kicking herself. Seeing how lovingly Iramis had held the Imogene in her arms, she could understand the loving words Iramis had uttered to Adata at their first meeting. There was something else Adata had mentioned earlier in the spa.
“Iramis chose you for a reason and the fact that she had children with you is evident enough that she's completely in love with you. Don't insult her by doubting her love for you.”
Adata's expression was fierce as she'd said that and it had hurt Sandra more to think that this woman had so much trust in Iramis and was willing to defend Iramis at every cost possible. It was with a heavy heart she had joined her family at the movies. Except for Imogene and the children, whom she had lavished with smiles and jokes, Iramis was courteous, but distant with her. Entering the dark theatre, she'd hoped to find a place next to Iramis, but the vampire had opted to sit between her two youngest, reserving the other two seats in the back row for Adata and Sandra. It was not uncommon for Iramis to sit with the children the few times they'd gone to the movies as a family. However, it just felt wrong this time.
Loud laughing jerked her from her thoughts and she watched as Oscar pointed to screen excitedly as he tried to explain something to Iramis. The blonde head fell back and Iramis' deep, husky laughter reached Sandra's ears. Sandra swallowed hard as slow tremor ran down her spine. Those husky tones never failed to excite her. It was probably one of the first things that had drawn her to the vampire.
As she continued studying her wife's profile, she was taken back to that day twenty years ago when she stood outside that bar, drunk on cheap whiskey and trying hard to light a cigarette in the strong breeze.
Swearing under her breath as the flame blew out again, she was surprised when a steady hand held out a flame, unruffled by the breeze. Grateful at the opportunity of her next nicotine fix, she first lit her cigarette and took a long drag before turning her attention on her saviour. Even in her drunken state she couldn't help but gape at the gorgeous, tall blonde with the mysterious eyes looking back at her. The woman cocked her head to the side as she studied her quietly. The breeze played gently through the blonde hair, tossing rich tresses across the ridiculously beautiful and youthful face. Not sure if, she could get her brain to cooperate in stringing a coherent sentence together, she simply held out her packet. Those intense eyes touched on the packet and moved back to hers. The woman's lips curled up into a slow smile.
“That's a habit I could never master,” she said in a deep, husky voice which made Sandra feel like ripping off her own clothing, baring herself to this gorgeous being. Begging that her alcohol-soaked brain would cooperate this time, she pushed out the first words that came to her mind.
“I could teach you. It's quite easy if you have the right teacher.”
The woman threw back her head and her husky laugher filled the alley. Stunned by how her body responded to the woman's laugh, the cigarette fell from her suddenly numb fingers. The woman's hand shot out, lightning fast, and caught the cigarette. As she held out the cigarette, the woman spoke again.
“I've heard that this can kill you.”
Taking the cigarette and with a bit of her equilibrium restored, she brazen leaned into the woman's personal space. “So could lightning, cholesterol and a vampire.”
The woman looked slightly taken aback at that. The teasing smile died almost instantaneously as she stepped back and made her way towards the exit of the alley. Not knowing what she'd said to offend the woman and not wanting to let her leave so abruptly, Sandra called out to the woman.
“How do you know you're alive if you don't tempt death now and then?”
The blonde stopped dead in her tracks, her body rigid. For a moment she thought that her attempt at regaining the woman's attention had failed, but the woman slowly turned back to look at her, her eyes deep, dark and almost hypnotic.
“Finish your cigarette and go back inside.” Her voice had an edge to it, something dark and dangerous. She knew instinctively that she should've obeyed. But with the whiskey coursing through her veins and her growing fascination with the woman, she completely ignored her instincts.
“Only if you tempt death with me and try one,” she said stubbornly. The woman gave her a quizzical stare. She wasn't completely sure, but it seemed as if the woman rolled her eyes before she sauntered back over to her. She came to stand before her, her tall body still rigid as she glared down at Sandra.
“Your stubbornness will get you killed one day,” the woman growled deeply before holding out her hand. “Let's get this over with.”
Grinning like a fool, she shook another cigarette out of the pack and placed it between her lips. Looking at the blonde, it was obvious that she was way out of her league and the only way she would probably get to wangle a kiss from the woman was to close her lips around the cigarette butt. “Well, now that we've got that out of the way. You need to light it up since my lighter doesn't seem to want to work in this weather.”
The woman dropped her hand and reached inside her leather jacket for the lighter and lit the cigarette. Taking a few puffs, Sandra held out the cigarette to the blonde. “Don't draw in your breath as if in gasp. Suck it in slowly.”
The woman gave the smoking cigarette a distasteful look before lifting it to her lips. Sandra rolled her eyes when the woman did the exact opposite she'd advised her to do. A heavy bout of coughing ensued which prompted her to gently tap the woman's back. She was just about to feel sorry for the poor woman coughing her lungs out when the blonde head lifted and blood red eyes skewered her. Her blood turned cold and for a moment she was frozen to the spot as she stared at the woman, who had also sprouted sharp, glistening fangs.
“Holy …!” she gasped as she slowly backpedalled, throwing a quick look at the steel door leading to the back entrance of the bar. “You're…you're a vampire. Oh man, are you going to bite my head off now?” She gingerly touched her neck as she eyed the woman warily.
The vampire coughed again and shook her head. “No. You'd most probably smell and taste of these vile cigarettes.” The vampire tossed the cigarette away and again made her way towards the exit of the alley.
She didn't know where she got the guts from, probably from the whiskey or the fact that her neck was still intact.
“That's it?” She called after the woman. “You gonna show me your fangs and then slink off into the night?”
The vampire came to a stop once again. This time she didn't turn around when she spoke.
“Go inside. Stubborn people like you give me indigestion.” When she turned her eyes were blazing red. “And you better stop smoking. You're too young for that.”
Remembering her cigarette, she took a drag. “Well, make me.” She kept her eyes on the vampire as she stood looking at her with an almost stunned look on her face.
The vampire did something so totally unexpected that her whole body almost burst out in flames. The blonde head slightly cocked to the side, the red eyes shading to a bright blue. A stupendously lovely smile lit up the woman's face.
“Whatever you've been drinking surely had suicidal written on the label, human.” The vampire swaggered over to where she stood and reached out her hand. “My name is Iramis.”
The name sounded vaguely familiar, but too lazy to think at that moment she promised herself that she would definitely ponder on it later. “Sandra Ducane.”
A loud bang sounded followed by loud laughter and drawn from her thoughts, Sandra watched, spellbound, as her wife and their youngest leaned closer again. It was so unbelievably beautiful to see how the two of them fell deeper and deeper in love with each other.
She missed having that link with Iramis. She had to fix things and quickly. The kids were not aware of the strain yet, but they were extremely perceptive.
Taking a deep breath she leaned forward and almost swooned at the familiar musky scent of Iramis. She cleared her throat softly and saw the Iramis stiffen slightly.“Find me after ten minutes, vampire. I need to talk to you.” She slowly got to her feet and made her way through the dark movie theatre to the exit, not once looking back.
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