Shades of Gray
"Do we have to do this every night?"
I look beside me where my companion of two months is standing. I think I have a surprised look on my face just then, and she probably can see it too. I think that Talia has just come to terms with what she is now. She accepts the fact that she is a vampire and there is nothing she could do to make herself into anything else, unlessÖ
Anyway, I think even when she finally accepts the fact that she, like me, is a creature of darkness now, and that we live in the dark, in the shadows, and we need blood to sustain our lives, she would still cannot help but display her disdain for taking life every night for her own survival.
It is something that I find endearing and at the same time annoying.
We are, after all, creatures of night and here she is questioning our very way of surviving.
"When we, or rather, you, are strong enough and live long enough, you can forego the feeding for a short period of time, but not for too long." I finally answer her after a few minutes of thinking, and trying to come up with the best way of explaining this to her.
Really, after all those movies, books and, heaven knows what else that humans make, write, and print I would think that my companion would know the basic myth, the common knowledge about us and what we are by now. But maybe she, as a human, was one of those people that have no interest in the subject whatsoever. That would explain her lack of knowledge.
Or maybe it is something else.
"You have seen those movies, havenít you?" I ask her, looking at her beautiful face.
"No, just a few, but they are, well," she pauses. "I guessÖ different."
"Thatís true, some of them are just overly dramatized, but thatís how they pull people in to see their movies." I shrug, turning my face to look down at the street below. The discussion is over, for now.
In any case, I guess I will probably have to sit down to talk about this with her.
There below us, I see a prey walk away from the crowd and into the dark alley beside the building. It is time for us to feed and I tell Talia as much. She is still reluctant; I can feel it without having to look at her.
After about three weeks, I stopped letting her feed from me and started teaching her how to choose the prey and where the best places are. Back when I was turned by Arial, we did not need to learn any of those. No one could do anything to us, people were afraid of the supernatural.
But we have always been discreet.
Arial was a lot more reserved than I was, or I am.
But Iím not stupid; since my sire was so careful, Iíve learned to be too.
For the past two months, since Iíve turned Talia, I havenít thought much about Arial at all. Maybe thatís because I am busy with Talia, or maybe Iím just finally over Arial, after several centuries. It is a little long, but since I will live forever, it is not inconceivable.
Especially when you are of Russian descent.
But now I have someone else to share with me, to relieve my loneliness. Now I will move on and stop hoping that I will one day find my sire. Well, maybe not completely. Arial is an immortal after all. I donít know how long she had lived before she found and turned me, but certainly a long time and I know in my heart that she will live for eternity to come.
I pull myself from my train of thoughts, and turn my attention to the hunt below me.
Talia is disdainful of taking life, but she is also very smart and predatory when she needs to be, just in the right moment. She is also very transcendent in her graceful movements, like a lioness taking down her prey. I notice that she is looking up at me, so I leap down.
With the softest of thuds, I land in front of her.
Taliaís full lips are pressed tightly together, and at one corner of her mouth there is a small trail of blood dripping down to her chin. The human prey hangs limply in her arms, and I reach over to take the lifeless body from her. She lets go of the body.
I bend my head to lick the two small wounds on the exposed neck, my eyes still on her; our eyes lock and hold each other. I lift the body up and with one move I slice the throat open and toss the body aside without a second thought. I know she is disturbed at the way I discard these bodies, but there is no other way to do this.
I canít just leave them with only two small wounds where the fangs penetrated the skin; I need something else to confuse the issue.
My nails catch the openings of the wounds and I drag them across the throat, cutting it open completely. There is still plenty of blood to spill out as I drop the body on the ground. I think I saw the news coverage on the prey that Iíve killed on the newspaper once a while back. Itís been a long time and the cops canít find anything, no suspects, no forensic evidence, so the news dies down even though the investigation is still going on.
I donít really care about any of it, so I donít bother to look into what they are doing.
"Come," I say to my companion, holding out a hand to her. She takes it without a word, and we take off.
I wake up and reach beside me in my massive bed, and I find nothing. The spot beside me is empty when it should have held the body of my companion. I open my eyes and sit up straight, the sheet sliding off of my naked form to pool in my lap. I pull one knee up against my chest, resting my elbow on it and with one hand I brush the hair out of my face.
There she is.
I look straight ahead and find Talia leaning against the large bay window, looking out.
The sun has already set, but the sky is still light with purple/red tints of the dying rays of sunlight. And the red tints bathe my loverís skin, making her glow.
She must have heard me getting up, she turns her head to look at me. Her expression is soft, but she makes no move to come to me.
"Come here," I command, but my voice is soft.
I watch her move toward me; she has thrown on her silvery silk robe to cover her naked body. Well, most of it anyway, since the robe isnít tied close, so I can still see the creamy white skin where the robe parts. I can see the valley between her breasts down to her taut stomach and the apex of her legs where in the dim light I can only see the impression of the blond curls.
She walks around to my side of the bed and I take her hand and pull her down beside me.
Talia sits with one long leg tucked underneath the other while facing me. She looks sad.
"Whatís the matter?" I ask, pulling her closer to me, she obligingly complies.
Talia shakes her head as she lets herself be pulled in by me. I settle her over my lap and kiss her. Gently, I part her lips with the tip of my tongue, tasting her. I support the back of her neck with one hand, my fingers tangle in her silky blond hair. She kisses me back almost feverishly.
After a moment or two, I pull back.
Her eyes are closed, her lips part, swollen, her breaths come out in short gasps. My fingers are still tangled in her hair. I love her hair, it is so soft and smooth like the finest silk and I love burying my face in it. For now though I content myself with caressing the silky tresses with my fingers.
She opens her eyes and looks at me quietly. Without a word she places her hands on my broad shoulders. The opening of her robe is inviting and I place my free hand at the valley between her breasts then brush the robe aside. With her hands on my shoulders, I only succeed in pushing the robe away from her breasts but not completely undress her.
Her eyelids drop coyly as I move my hand to caress the mound of her breast and play with her sensitive nipple. They are already hard from our initial kiss. Her smoky eyes are still on me.
Our eyes lock and hold as I continue to caress her. I watch her lips part, listen to the low moan that escapes her lips. Beautiful, my Talia.
Yes, she is mine, now and forever. Nothing is going to be able to change that; I made her.
Her eyes slowly close and I lean into her, place my mouth to her ear and whisper that I want her to open her eyes, I want to see the desire she feels reflect in those beautiful blue/gray eyes. I feel more than see her eyes fly open at my request. I kiss her delicate earlobe and let the sharp point of my fang catch her skin. It is not enough to draw blood, or even break the pale skin, but it is enough to make her shiver.
And shiver is what I want to happen.
I pull back slightly so I can look at her, look into her eyes.
She is beautiful, so beautiful it hurts.
In that moment of realization, I freeze.
Oh God, I think Iím in love.
I stop my caressing and she seems to notice. She looks at me, her eyes clouding up with confusion. She must have seen the look on my face, and I wonder if she would understand what it means, or if she even cares.
I stare at her, but Iím not really seeing her. I feel like my whole world has just crumbled. Until a soft, cool hand touches my cheek, calling me back to reality, my reality. And I find her looking at me still, with that confusion in her eyes. I see her lips part and I know that she is going to ask a question that I may not be able to answer, at least not yet.
How can you tell someone that you forced into your life that you love them?
I never give her a choice.
"Susan," her voice barely penetrates through. "Susan, are you all right?"
"Yes," I say to her, reaching up to cover her hand with mine and turn my head to kiss the palm of it. "Iím all right, justÖ donít feel like getting up right now."
Still holding her hand, I still canít believe the feeling that Iíve just recognized. And I can see that the look of confusion on Taliaís face turn into questioning now. I decide that it isnít something I want to talk about now, nor do I want her to start asking me about this.
Maybe later, but definitely not right now.
So, here we are again.
We are standing on top of the apartment building that Talia once lived in. The wind is rather strong tonight, I donít think I would stand around and watch people like I usually do. It is difficult to get your hair untangled after a night out on the rooftop when itís windy, especially when your hair is as long as mine.
I look over to where she is; sheís looking at the floor, her face is partly hidden behind a curtain of gold, and I am struck once again at how beautiful she is.
So, I stand still, I donít want to interrupt the image before me.
ThisÖ beautiful creature that Iíve taken into the darkness with me.
I can only imagine what her hair would look like in the sunlight, how each strand would reflect the bright light, how beautiful it would be. I watch her, sometimes, looking at how her golden hair reflects the dim light I have in my loftÖ our loft. It is ours now, hers and mine.
She looks a little sad sometimes.
I know she misses her life, a life that Iíve taken away from her.
But there is nothing I can do for her now. And I stop myself from thinking about this any further; there is no use. Iím more than a little surprised by what I am feeling right now. I have never cared about any of this before. I see nothing wrong with taking lives; of course, I only take what I need and no more. The lives I took were to sustain me, unlike humans that take more than what they can consume and then throw the rest away. What they do is out of greed.
What I do is survival.
I put a firm stop to this train of thought and turn to pay attention to my own surroundings instead.
"Can we go to my apartment?"
The question comes out of no where and startles me.
When I turned her a few months ago, and after she had accepted that this is who she is and that she will not be able to change back to who she used to be, I brought her here, to her apartment. Intending for her to get rid of her old life and start anew. I think that she still wants it all back.
She is still looking at me, waiting for my answer.
"There is nothing in there anymore, Talia." I say to her, my voice soft. "We had them move everything into storage, nothing is left."
"I want to see." Her voice is soft, so soft that my sensitive hearing almost cannot hear her.
Her eyes are pleading. Aw hell, how am I supposed to say no to that?
"All right," I give her a small nod, indicating that she can go in, but I make no move to follow her.
I expect her to just go down the stairs like the first time we were here, but she doesnít. In fact, she doesnít move an inch; instead she looks at me, waiting for me. I can feel my brows lift toward my hairline, surprised at the expectation.
"Would you like me to accompany you?" I ask dryly, knowing what the answer will be.
"Yes," her answer is a little fleeting.
Even though we, she and I, are connected in a way that no mere lovers can, sometimes I really canít understand what she is thinking or feeling. Must be the fact that Iíve been what I am for so long that human logic and thought patterns are just not making sense to me anymore.
I think a lot of them arenít making any sense anyway.
Humans are just not very logical in their thinking. They are too emotional.
I know, I know. I was human once, a long time ago, so long that I canít really recall what it was like.
She reaches out a hand to me, and I take her hand in my own. Her hand is cold, just like mine, but soft and gentle.
I suppress the shiver that starts to run down my spine when I think of her touches.
I wonder if she knows how her touch affects me. If she knows that she could demand anything from me, just by touching me the way she does. I guess she doesnít.
Oh for crying out loud, Iím too old and have lived far too long to be confused over some love matter.
Or am I?
Have I ever really loved anyone?
I think I loved ArialÖ I donít know.
After a while, I think Iíve come to believe that love is an illusion, and that I, as a vampire, will live far beyond the fleeting feelings that visit all living creatures at one time or another. But I am not a living creature, not anymore.
Really, I think Iím too old for this.
But I canít help how I feel right now.
I take her hand and lead the way toward the door. I know she will appreciate this more than just flying down and breaking into the apartment through the window. She doesnít like anything that is too much of an action sequence. Talia prefers a quieter way.
Come to think of it, she is quite conservative.
Look at meÖ my thoughts are all over the place, and I canít even focus on one thing.
"Are you all right?" Her smoky voice cuts right through the clutter of my thoughts.
"Yes," I say. It isnít a lie really, but itís not the truth either. I come to a stop in front of the closed door. The number on the door says 13. This was her apartment. Iíve been here before, when I brought her to pick up what she wanted to keep. I didnít expect her to keep much from her former life.
I take a hold of the doorknob. It is locked, but no lock can hold against a vampire.
With one turn, I unlock it and push the door open.
The apartment is empty now. I think she is a bit sad about that.
Now we are back in our loft, not just mine anymore, but ours.
The little changes like this surprise me a little. What is mine is now ours, hers and mine. Interesting change, isnít it?
I lean into the over-stuffed leather chair, my head tipped back. We only made one kill tonight. I donít need to feed every night, but she does. So I just let Talia have her meal and come back here. The thoughts that are swirling around in my head distract me, and I donít need that while flying across the city night sky. The more I am distracted, the greater chance of me being less careful. And we donít need that.
I need a bath.
Talia is in our bedroom now. I donít know what she is doing. After the visit at the apartment she just went in there and didnít say anything to me. Does she resent what Iíve done to her? It is entirely possible. I better stop thinking about this.
I make my way into the bathroom and fill up the tub, pouring in some bath salts, and light the candle. I wait until the tub is filled and shut off the water before undressing and stepping in.
The warmth of the water envelops me, making me feel a lot better than I have since I figured out my feelings earlier. I can hear the movements from the other room, as I sink deeper into the water. I lean back, allowing my head to submerge in the medium, wetting my hair; Iíll wash that later. My eyes stare up to the ceiling, looking at the distorted image, which at the moment seems clearer than anything.
I close my eyes for a moment, I need not breathe, for I am the undead, so I remain in the water for, perhaps, a bit longer than anyone would. The water surrounds me, prevents me from hearing anything but echo sounds of movements I make.
Once I open my eyes I see, first shadow, and then my eyes clear and there is Talia, hovering over the tub, looking at me. Her face is distorted, but still beautiful.
I would have sighed, had I not been under the water. So instead I sit up.
"The water is getting cold," Talia notes as she put her hand in the water, testing the temperature.
I rub my face with both hands, wiping the excess water away, and draw my knees up to my chest. Looking at her, I say, "I know. I was just thinking about something."
"You should get out," she says quietly. Really, I think she sounds like a mother, if I remember how my mother was correctly. I watch her walk over to the other, drier side of the bathroom and pick up the towel I hung there and come back to me, holding up the towel. I look at her, blinking, expecting her to hand it to me, but she doesnít.
Then I realize she is expecting me to get up and let her wrap the towel around me.
Iím not used to being pampered like a child; this is a nice change. WellÖ
I stand up without saying anything to her, but from the smile on her face, I donít really have to say anything. I think she knows what Iím thinking.
I step out of the tub and into the open towel. With her shorter frame, Iím a bit surprised when she wraps the towel as well as her arms around me. With my hair still wet, sheíll get wet in no time.
"Youíll get wet." I warn, standing still.
Talia doesnít seem to be moving away any time soon and it is fine by me. I do like to have her near by; I just donít really want her to know just how much.
Finally, she steps away and allows me to wrap the towel around myself securely.
"Are you going to take a bath?" I ask, heading toward the door.
"No, just a shower," she tosses over her shoulder as Iím leaving.
Iím already in bed with a book in my hand. Yes, I am trying to read, and so far I havenít been very successful in grasping the content of the book; my mind is all over the place right now.
I put the book down on my lap when Talia comes out of the bathroom. She is in her favorite robe, the silver/gray silk robe that I bought her. She looks so good in it.
And I feel my heart catch yet again.
AwÖ stop this, Susan.
She took almost an hour in there, and I wonder what she has been doing. Probably just soaking in the tub just as I did. Wait a minute, she said she was only going to take a showerÖ oh wellÖ As she comes closer I notice that she isnít wearing anything underneath the robe.
Well, isnít this interesting?
Talia usually wears a nightgown, well, until I take it off that is.
I glance up at her; my eyes travel up and down her body on their own accord.
They start at her feet; those dainty feet, they are pretty. And no I donít have foot fetish, or I wouldíve worshipped them daily otherwise. Up to her long legs, which seem to run forever. I canít see anything more at the moment since she is still covered by the silvery robe.
So I have to use my imagination and memories on the rest of her.
As I let my sight travel up her long neck to her cleft chin up to her nose and high cheek bones, and then her eyesÖ
They are blue, deep blue, with an enigmatic twinkle in them.
I feel a sudden chill.
The pleasant tingle runs from the base of my neck down my spine and ends at the tip of my toes and actually makes them curl.
She smiles, like she knows what I am thinking.
She moves slowly, surely, the look of predator on her face and I think I also know what she is thinking.
Oh God, I think Iím in real trouble now.
This is the first time I have seen that look on her face. I, usually, am the one who initiates all our playing. No, she never objects to our little play times, but she doesnít really start them either.
It is a surprise, and Iím sure, it is going to be very pleasant.
I finally put the book on the nightstand. Anticipating her closeness. I wouldnít want to crumple up the book as this starts, especially this time when it seems that whatever she has in mind would be interesting. Yes interesting indeed.
She moves across the room with agonizing slowness, my sensitive olfactory nerve detecting the pleasant smell of perfume. She has been preparing, I see. I know that if I were alive my heart would be pounding in my chest and that I would be panting with anticipation by now.
Fortunately I am not.
As much as I desire her, and as much as I suspect that she knows, I still donít want her to know exactly how much. I still donít want her to know that she could ignite my desire and arouse me by just a movement of her body or just one look. It is not becoming.
Finally, after what seems like an eternity, she reaches me and I involuntarily sit up from my reclining position.
I reach for her with my hand.
She gives me a look and takes my hand, but instead of letting me pull her down, she pulls me up.
She is going to be in control tonight.
I guess it wonít hurt to let her.
I suppress my shiver as my skin comes in contact with the cool, smooth silk of her robe. Talia is a little shorter than I am, so my lips make a contact with the tip of her nose. Well, it isnít bad. I lean in, in an attempt to kiss her, but with one swift move she places a hand at the back of my head and forces me to bend down and she kisses me. Hard.
I let my hands rest on her waist, my fingers spread out, pressing against the cool silk and feeling the slightly warmer temperature of her skin. I want to just rip the fabric apart to feel her bare skin against mine, but I know she wonít let me.
I guess Iíll have to wait.
It has been so long since someone has had this effect on me.
Actually, not counting my sire, Talia would be the first.
I feel her sharp teeth nibbling at my bottom lip, the wet tip of her tongue touches mine. My senses are going crazy with the feel of her lips, the coolness of her hands on the back of my neck, the smell of her perfume that masks the natural scent of her only slightly.
I feel like Iím falling down.
She guides me backward toward our bed.
She has yet to utter a word to me, and I find myself muted.
She breaks our kiss and pushes me onto my back, the look in her eye pierces through me.
I lay back, watching her shrug off her robe, revealing herself in all her glory to me. God, sheís beautiful.
I donít have to wait long for her to climb on top of me, pressing herself against me. I can feel my skin come alive, my senses become overly sensitive. I can feel every strand of hair on my skin, and each touch sends me higher.
My head is spinning, and I think Iím falling deeper.
To where, Iím not sure.
Her palm pressing onto my abdomen, her fingernails trailing downward.
She still doesnít say anything. I can tell that she is going to take me, and will leave me no room to escape.
Not that I would want to.
I can feel her long fingers entering me, her cool skin is warm now, and getting warmer by the second. Her cool breath caresses my pelvis, I can feel the sharp edges of her teeth pressing down, but not breaking my skin. Razor sharp points of her fangs.
I canít help the moan that rises up from deep inside me. Her caresses are getting quicker now, more forceful and I can no longer keep my eyes open for the room is starting to blur out of focus, and I am starting to see white light.
I have to close my eyes as I feel her lips close around my center.
"Talia," I hear myself groan, the first word to come out of my mouth since the whole thing started.
I can feel her respond by purring, the vibration proves to be too much for me and I feel like my whole world is exploding.
Then there is only darknessÖ
Slowly I come to myself again, and the first thing I see as soon as I open my eyes is Talia. She is watching me, the look in her eyes changes, from the predatory look that she gave me earlier into something more tender, more caring.
I open my mouth to say something to her, but she places her index finger against my lips, efficiently cutting off anything Iím going to say. She smiles.
A small, gentle smile.
And she replaces her finger with her lips.
Her cool lips feel so soft, so goodÖ
"TaliaÖ" I start, and she rests her whole body on top of mine. My arms come up on their own volition and wrap themselves around her, not that I donít want to do that myself, mind you.
She puts her head down, her hair falls over my face and I smell it. Sweet.
She says nothing, and I let the silence fall between us.
That is when I notice that there is no breaking of skin, unlike our previous playing. Usually we both end up with puncture wounds of our fangs sinking into each otherís skin as we reach our own climax. Blood has always seemed to enhance that. It seems that I donít need it this time.
It seems that she has no intention of taking my blood as she pleasures me.
And I wonder why.
Maybe, she wants to show me something, wants me to know something.
And now I have to ask, my overloaded mind will not let me think clearly.
She moves, I know she can feel me, and feels what I am thinking.
"I love you." Her soft voice husks, echoes in the dark room.
I tighten my hold on her. "My Talia," I whisper. "My sweet Talia."
It seems that there is nothing for me to be worried about, after all. She is my Talia, and she is bonded to me, in more ways than just the life that I have given her.
"Delta leader to delta wing, showís over. Letís collect the stragglers
to base." ( Signs and Portents )