“What is it like being a vampire?” Rose asked Darien as she lay next to him. She was resting comfortably against his chest, relaxing to the rising and falling of his chest.
“What do you mean?” he asked her. He let his finger play in her tangle of hair. They hadn’t left the house for a while now. Rose had taken a temporary leave of absence from work so that she could spend some real time with him. Their hours hadn’t synchronized well, so it had become hard for them to spend as much time together as they were accustomed to.
“You know, how do you feel on the inside being a vampire? Does it hurt or anything like that?” She turned her head now so that she could face him and read the truth in his eyes. Ever since she had learned of his secret she had been fascinated with it. That is, after the shock and confusion died down. She had read of vampires in books and had seen them portrayed in the movies as fearful creatures that would drain anyone of life. Darien was completely the opposite. Not only was he far from fearful, but he had injected life into her dull drab life. She couldn’t imagine life without him, and she could feel his need for her too.
“It really doesn’t feel any different from humans…from you,” he corrected himself. He was made more aware of how different they were when he referred to her kind as humans. “Other than the pain during the transformation period, most things are the same. A few differences exist, such as we don’t go out in the daytime; we don’t feel hunger except for, you know,” he paused. “We have increased agility, speed, adeptness, and we can, of course, hear the blood as it rushes in your veins…”
He stopped when he felt her tense at his words. “Not many differences. We still indulge in the same entertainment for the most part, and we still crave love and sex.”
Rose was quiet as she lay against him, absorbing everything he was saying. “Does it make it hard, being with me, when you naturally crave my blood?”
“I don’t crave blood like that. Other vampires on the other hand do, and we can smell it. It’s a potent and hypnotic aroma and it takes considerable practice not to succumb to it. But enough about that,” he said. He hated discussing this topic, but it seemed always to be at the forefront of Rose’s mind and she never failed to question him about it.
Then, as she always managed to do, she threw a curve ball at him, and there was no way for him to avoid hitting it. “Can you and I make babies?” she asked.
Darien had never considered the possibility until now. “I-I’m not sure,” he stuttered. Could they? He had never heard of it, and maybe that was because humans and vampires had always remained at the top and bottom of the food chain; one feeding on the other. He was almost sure no one had ever considered the likelihood of it happening. “It may not be worth considering. The baby would be half vampire, and would perhaps eat you from the inside out.”
“Has anyone ever tried before?” she pressed.
“I cannot answer that with any reasonable certainty.” In fact, Darien had only now registered the idea in his mind, and like fertile soil it had already begun to germinate.
He had never been so taken by a woman, and he had every instinct fully trained on her protection. He had experienced some semblance of peace ever since Gabe and his legion of rogues had swarmed the city. Darien had managed to defeat his old friend turned enemy, but now the government agency was more vigilant in their watch over them. They had been given new badges and had to visit the facility for their supplies on time every week. Still, Darien didn’t have to take from their supplies; there was still the small game he could feed on such as the nomads living in the wild. But he chose to comply, and just when he was thinking his life had resumed some level of normalcy, Rose had to mention pregnancy.
“Why is your brow so knitted?” she asked him now, her own growing to be the same.
He turned to face her with a serious expression. His jet black hair glistened in the light, and Rose felt hypnotized. “Do you really want to have a baby with me?”
“I-I didn’t say I wanted one; I was just curious about it. But I suppose we could give it some thought.” The words left Rose’s mouth, but even she wasn’t prepared to believe it was at all possible. Darien was a vampire, and she was human; he was an immortal. He would outlive her by centuries, and so would their child. The possibility of her having a child also opened the door to the idea of turning into a vampire herself. She shuddered now at the thought and he moved in closer to envelope her in his arms.
“It has been a lonely life, having no one to share it with. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to father a child, or to be your husband. I have never had the privilege in my former life, and I would do well to have it in this one,” he concluded.
Rose sensed the need in him, and she was not about to cast a shadow on it now. “Well, why don’t we ask someone who might know about these things? Maybe it is possible after all.” Along with the possibility of becoming like him, but she did not utter those words aloud.
He perked up instantly, and she could almost see the light bulb over his head. “That’s not a bad idea,” he said as he raced off to the phone. She could hear him rummaging around and she leaned over on the sofa to ascertain what he was doing.
“Whatever is it you are doing?” she questioned.
There was no answer, and he kept digging until he pulled a business card from one of his pouches. “Here it is,” he said as he sat next to the phone and dialed the number. He was fidgeting the entire time and Rose now moved closer to stand next to him. She looked on curiously as he waited for an answer he hadn’t received yet. Finally he hung up, disappointed.
“Who were you calling?” she asked.
“I was trying to get someone over at The Everest,” he told her as he stood.
“At this time of the night? Who in their right mind would be at work now?”
Darien looked at her incredulously. Then he slapped his hand across his face and dragged it down to his chin. Then he burst out laughing. “Who in their right mind indeed,” he said. “I forgot humans sleep at night.” Then he turned to Rose and pulled her to him. “Speaking of which, shouldn’t you be sleeping as well?”
“I would rather stay awake all night with you,” she mumbled.
He smiled at her and ruffled her hair. “You will need your strength for the daytime. It would be unfair of me to rob you of rest..”
“I run my own business,” she protested. “I can stay home and sleep with you all day tomorrow.”
“I won’t allow it Miss Swift,” he said firmly. “Get your rest,” he told her and walked off toward the balcony. As the cool night air hit his face, Darien closed his eyes and inhaled sharply. He settled next to his gargoyle once more; he found it soothing as he perched there and he was especially thankful he had had no reason to swoop down and scout lately. Gabe was long dead, and his men had been too busy scurrying off with their tails between their legs to even consider returning. At least that was what Darien hoped for. He had no inclination to run off again, especially not now when the newest thought on his mind was starting a family with the woman he loved.
He turned around and saw that she had conceded, and he caught a glimpse of her white gown as she disappeared into the bedroom. He had no need for sleep now, and he thought he might make a quick descent into the city before Rose realized he was gone. She spent most of her nights here now, and he had grown accustomed to her presence in his home; a welcomed change to the solitude he had long grown familiar with. He crept back inside the apartment, but Rose had already succumbed to her human weakness of sleep.
In the time it took for her to inhale and exhale his essence, he was already mid flight down the building. He landed softly on feet and pulled his trench coat around his neck as he skulked around the town. He figured he may as well get some supplies while he was here. On his way back he ran into Taylor.
“Fancy seeing you in these parts,” Darien said to his kin.
Taylor grinned and his extended canine grew visible as he did. “It isn’t what you think,” he said to Darien. “I was only considering registration.”
“Oh really now?” Darien said as he eyed him suspiciously. He could almost taste the sarcasm oozing from him.
“No, not really,” Taylor laughed. “Blood in a bag doesn’t quite go down as easily.” He flashed Darien a wink before he stepped from his path.
Darien moved to allow him to pass. Two steps later and Taylor spoke again. “Alesha said hi.”
“Who?” Darien asked as he turned to face the rogue vampire once more. He didn’t get along well with Taylor, who chose to lead his traditional lifestyle of feeding on humans. Darien couldn’t stop him, but he was at least grateful that he wasn’t hunting in this town.
“Curvaceous red head? She said you two go way back, and from how she said it, I figured she was a past lover of yours.”
“I don’t know an Alesha,” Darien said as he probed his mind. If she was indeed his lover, then he would definitely remember her. “Are you sure she asked for me?”
“Darien Rochester, she said,” he confirmed. “That is you, is it not? Maybe she will turn up soon. She said she might be around for a little while.”
Taylor disappeared then, just before Darien had any chances of following up. Who the hell was Alesha, and how did she come to know him? He had not had many friends for centuries, and the ones he did he well remembered. But not her. As he roamed the streets that night, his mind was filled with thoughts of her, and he grew uneasy with it. He didn’t like being hunted, especially when he wasn’t familiar with the hunter to gain a competitive advantage. And he didn’t even know where to begin. Maybe someone at The Everest might have heard of her.
There was no further incident that night and Darien soon returned to his perch next to his gargoyle. He remembered he needed to check his messages and in a single movement he was already inside the apartment and tapping on his keyboard. Eternity was boring; it seemed to be an endless stretch of road that had no end, and as soon as he sat down, he once more thought of having a child. At least then there would be some meaning to his existence.
He had no pending actions from his associates or partners. He ran a successful software company as an absentee director, who only made himself available when absolutely necessary. He had capable hands that managed his affairs with precision, and allowed him the comforts of his nature, albeit unknown to them. He was unsure as to how the hours passed so soon, and before he knew it, the distant mountains had already begun to grow gray as the early light of dawn caressed their peaks. His vision was slowly growing impaired the brighter the light, and soon he had to retreat to his bedroom where Rose was just turning.
“Is it morning already?” she asked.
“I am afraid so,” he said as he sank down next to her. “What time do you go in today?”
“I have an eleven o’ clock appointment, and then another at one, and at three, I think,” Rose said as she yawned and rubbed her eyes. When she opened them once more, she saw Darien staring at her and smiling. “What?” she asked.
“How is it that you still look beautiful even when you are yawning?” he asked her, and she blushed.
She shoved him aside and got out of the bed to freshen up. “The same way you can captivate me just by breathing,” she told him as her head disappeared around the bathroom door.
Darien was still fresh from feelings that had already begun to provoke him, and as soon as Rose stepped past, he yanked her back into the bed. “I think I’m just about ready for you now,” he told her as he inhaled her scent long and hard. He could hear her heart pounding like a thousand African drums, and he could almost taste the blood flowing effortlessly inside her. He grew dizzy as he held her there, and soon his hands were sliding southwards, searching for the warmth he needed. Rose quivered at his touch, and a gulp escaped her which he caught as his lips descended upon hers. She tasted as golden as the morning, and he gripped her sides as he pressed her into him. His breathing was already intensifying. Rose locked her fingers in his hair, grabbing a handful of his black mane for support.
His tongue traveled to her throat, and he fought to drown the echoing of her proof of life. A few inches more and he had climbed her twin peaks, now ripe for his attention, and he eagerly suckled them, watching as goose pimples popped up one after the other along her arm. He raised himself up after a few seconds and planted his lips on hers once more. Perhaps a little too hard. When he lifted his head, he saw blood stain on her, and instantly his eyes grew electrified at the sight. It had been too long since he had tasted the real thing, and as he hovered, staring at the speck, Rose moved her hand to the spot. She grew alarmed when she saw the reason for his immobility now, and in a swift motion, she pulled herself from under him. She dashed to the bathroom and in seconds she had blotted the temptation away.
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