"So that's my idea for the story," I could almost hear Love's shoulders shrug helplessly over the phone lines. He was hoping to write a vampire series, but without any real information on vampires. He hadn't seen the movies or read the books - he was for the most part, clueless on this topic. It made me wonder why he would be drawn to writing about it at all, but he had only explained it as inspiration. He said he didn't know from where.

Love, (who's real name was Ambrose Lovell,) was a good friend of mine from college. I was first attracted to him because of his writing. He wrote some freelance articles for the local independent paper and had some poetry published in a few compilations. What he wrote touched me for some reason. My mind or my heart always responded to his words. When he told me about his idea, I was interested of course. Vampires were not something I associated with Love's writing, but I certainly didn't want to put him off. He would want a lot of information, and I knew that I could find most of it for him. The idea of a weekend alone helping him with a story made my heart skip a few beats. I licked my lips and decided to offer my help.

"Well, you could always come here - you know - do a sort of 'Interview with the Vampire' thing," I pressed. He started to balk at the idea, and I backed off a bit. "You don't have to. I was just suggesting, since most of what modern vampirism in today's culture is best found when you're with another person - not on the 'Net," I finished lamely. It seemed to strike him though, because he got quiet for a few moments. I took this as a good sign.

"You really wouldn't mind helping me?" he asked, his curiosity aroused. I giggled lightly into the mouthpiece of the phone.

"Love, it would be my pleasure."

***

Nearly two weeks later, I was getting back from working out at the gym and saw Love's car pull into the dorm's parking lot. I waved at him as he got out and moved towards me. His eyes swept over my soaked clothes and he raised his eyebrows expressively.

"I was working out, you goof," I said when he was close enough to hear. He smiled at me, the same heartmelting smile I had seen the day I first met him.

"How have you been, Harley?" he hugged me gently as we entered the dorm and climbed the stairs to my room. We talked about classes we were taking, profs we liked and disliked, and anything we could think of that was "safe." Platonic.

"Why don't you have a seat and I'll be back in a few minutes?" I said, gathering up my towel and shampoo. Love elected my bed, the least messy place in my room, to sit on. As I walked out, he settled back onto some of the larger cushions and closed his eyes, looking wiped out from the drive. I smiled and shut the door quietly, hoping he could get some rest.

In the shower, I was a mass of raw nerve endings. Every time I closed my eyes, the cool breeze from the window became Love's breath, the water was his tongue, and my fingers were his, trailing around my body, teasing me. I moaned and tried to shake it off, but the image held me too well. Soon, I was grinding my hips outwards, wishing to find him standing there in front of me. I could feel his hands on my back, pulling me to him and his mouth covering mine. I teased and tugged on my skin until it was pink under the hot water. I ran my tongue over my teeth and felt their sharpness keenly. They almost sliced my taste buds as I felt them, and the little tickle of pain accompanying it only made my mouth water harder. I stopped myself short in my fantasy, and let the heat from my body dissapate into the air. I didn't have time to enjoy myself properly, and, I argued with myself, what could it hurt to be a little turned on when I saw him? I wanted more, and my body was going to get it, regardless of whether or not my mind agreed.

After my shower, I dried myself with a soft white towel, rubbing briskly over my entire body. I combed my hair out in front of the mirror and brushed my teeth thoughtfully. As I stood there, I thought to leave my robe open slightly at the top, and then readjusted the belt so that it gapped just enough to see the top curves of my breasts and some cleavage. I shook my head at my own desperation, at how badly I wanted to feel Love's touch.

As I crept back into my room, I was pleased to see that the lights were off and I could hear Love breathing deeply. I took that to mean he was asleep, so I could get dressed quickly and not have to have him turn around or cover his eyes. I slid out of my robe and hung it on a hook over the door, stretching to reach for it. Then I turned to my dresser and picked out a hunter green camisole and matching panties. As I let the satin glide over the tops of my thighs, I checked to make sure Love was still asleep. He hadn't moved since I had come in, so I figured he was alright. I pulled the camisole down over my head and shoulders, admiring the way the satin softened the curves of my breasts to the slope of my stomach. Behind me, he sighed and I swung around to stare at him, but his eyes were still shut and his breathing looked normal. "He must have just sighed in his sleep," I thought. I pulled out a knee-length skirt of layered sheer black silk and stepped into it quickly, just in case he woke up soon. The silk felt heavenly on my legs, and for a moment I debated taking off my panties to just enjoy its feel on all of my skin. I decided to leave them on though, since I didn't want my body to "overreact" to anything. My nipples were already pulling the camisole taut as they hardened. There was no way Love would be able to mistake my craving for him when he finally saw me. I took some of my favorite amber oil and stroked it onto my wrists and neck, and a bit between my breasts. I felt wonderful with him there. My whole mood had lightened considerably since he had pulled into the parking lot. I pulled my hair back with barettes and let it curl naturally around my ears, and dabbed just a bit of vanilla lipgloss to my mouth. Then, I crossed the room to my bed and leaned over him until I felt his breath on my cheeks.

For a moment, I just stared at him longingly. His face seemed almost innocent as he lay there, and my eyes feasted on his figure like a starving man at a banquet. His t-shirt clung to his barrel chest as it rose and fell softly, his biceps stretching the material to its limit. I bit my lip lightly as my gaze travelled down to his toned legs, then came to rest right at his crotch. I let out a tiny sigh, and looked back up at his face. His eyelids fluttered and I drew back slightly, suddenly very aware of our closeness.

"Hey Harley," he said as his eyes opened. They grew wider when he saw what I was wearing. "Wow, are we going out somewhere?" he sat up and looked at me appreciately.

"No, I just felt like wearing something cute," I said shyly, wondering to myself why I had chosen such an obvious outfit. He reached out his hand to stroke my arm, but thought better of it and didn't. I stood up and twirled around on my toes. "Do you like it at all?" I asked. His dark eyes shone at me as his eyelids narrowed and he gave a low wolf whistle.

"You're crazy Harley," he said quietly. "There's no man on this earth who wouldn't like you in that." I felt my face grow deep red at his words and I sat down and found something on the bedspread to look at with much interest.

"Thanks," it was barely a whisper. He leaned closer to me, and I felt his forehead bump gently into mine. We stared eye to eye for a few seconds, and then I felt him tilt his head and move closer. My mouth ached and I moved with him involuntarily, my tongue teasing my teeth to a razor sharpness. His heartbeat pounded in my ears and I could smell his blood as it coursed through his veins. I wanted him so badly - I was so hungry.

"Love! I can't..." my voice nearly failed and my body wanted to scream, but I couldn't do it. Love sat straight up like he had been hit with a bolt of lightning and immediately began to blush a deep crimson. "God, I'm sorry," I began. He looked at me for a second, not comprehending my distress.

"Did I do something?" he asked quietly after a long moment. I could have broken down into tears just then - this was the last thing I wanted him to think.

"No! No honey, it's not you at all!" I desperately wished I could make it better, or that I could take away the danger, but I couldn't do both at once. He looked bewildered and leaned back onto the pillows he had been resting on.

"Do you want to tell me what the matter is, then?" he sounded more concerned than angry, but I could tell he was irritated.

There was no rational answer I could give him. How could I explain? What I needed was something to explain myself calmly - and that was something far in coming. So I swallowed my fear and said the only thing that could sound both rational and sane, and was one of the last things I ever wanted to say.

"Love, I just can't ruin our friendship like this. What is things get weird? What if they don't work out? I need you in my life - I'm just too scared to lose you," as I finished I saw him getting ready to make an argument, but then he stopped.

"I don't want to lose you either," he said sadly. My heart stuck in my throat, making it hard for me to breathe. I felt tears forming at the edges of my vision, blurring it. I felt a knife being twisted between my ribs, I moved away from him and tried to regain some control. My head was still swimming with the scent of him, his lips, his skin, his tongue. "Was it because I was watching you?" he asked finally.

It took me a few moments to realize what he had just said. "Watching me?" I asked, trying to make sense of the words. "Why would it matter that you were watching me? We were nose to nose..." and then my words died away. He hadn't meant in the moments just before we almost kissed.

"No, not then," he began, but gave up the statement as he saw it dawn on me.

"You? You were - ? You watched me get dressed?" I couldn't decide whether to be upset or laugh hysterically. So the sigh I'd heard wasn't one of a sleeping man! Well, that explained the feeling of eyes on me! Poor Love looked like he wanted to fall under my bed though. He had totally deflated, and was sinking into the pillows as though they could swallow him whole. I touched his hand and smiled at him as warmly as I could without seeming fake. "I never knew you thought about me like that," I said. He gave a weak smile back and shrugged his shoulders.

"Like I said, there's no man on earth who wouldn't want you. I'm no exception," he immediately cringed, regretting the last statement. I let my eyes wander from his jeans to the black t-shirt he wore, to his dark rich hair and back to his eyes. They were scared and disappointed all at once.

"I'm really flattered, hon'," I said, "but I don't want to chance losing you."

"Yeah, so you say," he replied. The room felt colder to me, as if all the warmth had left our bodies. I wanted to change the subject, so I brought up his story, hoping it would change the mood.

"How's that going, anyway?" I asked. He got a copy of it out of his bag next to him and handed it to me. I settled back on my bed and leaned on the radiator and read the ten pages or so he had written. "Are you editing as you go?" I asked, trying desperately to engross myself in the topic. He nodded, and I noticed that he had moved farther back from me and taken his hand out from under mine. Another stabbing pain shot through me, but I covered it by asking more questions. After reading about eight pages though, I stopped and looked at him critically.

"Love, where are the vampires?" I skimmed through the rest of the pages and saw nothing pertaining to almost anything supernatural. He smiled and just shrugged his shoulders.

"You know I like to get a lot of facts before I write about something," he said. "I thought this weekend was to help me with that." I nodded and remembered my promise to him. I had forgotten it in my daydreams.

"Well, where do you want to begin?" I asked, pleased he was getting into the change of topic. He shrugged and said he had no idea where to start looking. I told him that I would just go through everything I had on vampires and he could pick out what he liked. First, I kneeled up on my bed and reached to my bookshelf, bringing down five or six colourful texts. His eyes lit up and I went through their main points, pertaining to physiology, history, myths and lore, and modern culture of the vampire. The atmosphere in the room slowly came back from the chill it had acquired earlier and I sat nearer to him so we could pore over the books together, occasionally brushing fingertips when our hands would reach to turn the page. When this happened, we would only glance at one another and keep going, but a warm tension continued to build back up. Once, I glanced up and caught him staring at me, a dreamy look in his eyes, but as soon as he saw me looking at him, he immediately looked back down and asked me something about the original famous vampire, Dracula.

"Why could he walk out in the daylight?" he wanted to know, confused with all the differing myths. I smiled and settled back.

"Really good sunscreen?" I ventured. He frowned and stuck out his tongue at me. "Don't stick that thing out unless you plan on using it," I warned. His face clouded and I instantly regretting saying it. He coughed into his fist and told me to get serious, he wanted to know why Stoker made Dracula into a "daywalker." "Vampires in the old myths were just monsters - more like zombies who roamed the earth looking for old friends. Later on, they became intelligent supernatural creatures, capable of morphing into animals and mist. Stoker simply found the myths in Romania to include the ability to walk around during the daytime. They lost their abilities of shapeshifting and mind control, but didn't dissolve or turn to dust in the light." He nodded and turned the page. I exhaled slightly, glad he had changed the subject back on his own.

I didn't know what was wrong with me! I was pushing this man I wanted further and further away, but the closer he got the more chance there was that I would harm him somehow. I couldn't bear to hurt him - not for anything. I watched him as he read through the stories of immortal friends and lovers and felt my teeth sharpen again. I had to get out of there! We were sitting too close, our bodies too warm, my need too great. I broke the mood by sitting up and yawning loudly.

"What's up, you tired?" Love asked, rolling onto his side. I smiled at him.

"Not yet, anyway - I did work out pretty hard today though. I was just going to ask you if you wanted to go driving with me for a little bit and get some air." He seemed interested and asked if we could use my car since his should rest after the long drive to my school. This was fine by me, since it meant I could control where we went and when we left. I agreed and we stood up, grabbed our jackets and after making sure my room was all locked up we made our way downstairs to the student parking lot and my little black '95 Escort.

"Hot wheels you've got," he quipped, getting in.

"You'd rather take your Kia?" I retorted, and he smiled and quieted down, and we got on our way.

The night was cool, without being cold. A waning moon was out, going from full to new, but it shone brightly down into the car. The air had a stillness to it that was almost sharp - as if it was waiting for something, holding its breath. I drove us up towards the small foothills that surrounded the campus, drinking in the scenery.

"This is fantastic," Love breathed. He was looking all around out the windows of the car, trying to see everything at once. I laughed at his enthusiasm and turned the last corner going up the hill, and we found ourselves at a small cliff.

"Where are we?" he asked as I put the car into park.

"Campus Overlook," I replied. "It's a nice place to get a view of the whole city." He walked to the railing and looked out over the edge.

"This is wild," he said. We stood there for a while, taking in all the little blinking lights and the crisp air that blew over the edge past us. I closed my eyes and just let myself feel everything for a few moments. As two arms of steel wrapped around my shoulders, I jumped.

"Dammit, Love!" I gasped. "Just scare me to death and hide the body why don't you?" He doubled over with laughter at the imagery and I saw my chance. Moving with a speed I didn't use around normal people, I slid behind him and gripped the back of his neck.

"Sleep now," I whispered to him, and felt his body slump in my arms. I dragged him back to the car and carefully put him inside, making sure he wouldn't get a stiff neck while he slept. I felt guilty about using any of my powers on my friends, especially Love, but if I wanted to be around him for the rest of the weekend, I needed to feed, and soon.

I found a secluded spot quickly, and stripped out of my clothes, folding them and placing them carefully behind a tree. I started to lean over, as though to stretch, and concentrated as hard as I could. Before my hands hit the ground, they were paws, matching my new hind legs. A short layer of fur sprouted out of my body, driving me crazy with the sensations - it felt like needles pushing their way out of my skin. The bones in my face made a sharp crunching noise and I felt them elongate and mold into a snout and jaws, and my tongue grew until it was lolling out of my mouth. I wanted to scream as my eyes even changed shape to fit my new skull, and the world became black and white and two-dimensional to me. Instead of screaming though, I let out a howl, ear-splitting even to my new ears, and heard it reciprocated by the ten other wolves in the immediate area. As they answered my call they came running towards me, and with the little bit of human mind I retained, I remembered to mark my territory around my clothes, for when I returned. The other wolves recognized by my size and shape that I was to be respected as an alpha leader and didn't bother to dispute me when I led the pack to hunt.

The night air felt clean on my skin as we sniffed the darkness for food. This was only the second time I had ever morphed into my wolfen form and I was revelling in it. After the pain left me, all that was left behind was a pleasant glow, similar to the one left behind by an orgasm. I stretched and lapped at the energy around me, tasting so many things I had never noticed before. I could smell Love in my car, moving slightly, and in the back of my mind, something worried about my talent at putting him to sleep. Not enough of me was human to consider the possiblity much though, and with a yelp, I caught the scent of a burrow with rabbits - and we were off. Running felt like flying to me, and I made sure to lead the pack far ahead, speeding up for the sheer enjoyment. As we reached the burrow, I instinctivly made myself silent with the pads on my paws, and eleven of us circled around, each one as hungry as the other.

Nearly an hour later, I found myself running back to the area where I remembered leaving my clothes. When I got there, I noticed something different. There was something missing from when I left. I realized that it was Love's scent I wasn't getting, and started to worry. I ran to the car and sniffed around for him. I still got nothing and suddenly felt my mind start to come back to me. What if I hadn't put him asleep properly? I panicked and tried to force myself to change back quickly. I howled as my forepaws became hands again and some of my fur disappeared, but the rest of me remained stuck in wolf form. I realized that pushing would do only harm, so I sat on my hind paws and slowed my breathing. My jaws were still wet with blood and I lapped at it fastidiously, removing every trace. I calmed as the last drop hit my system, and the hunger subsided to the recesses of my mind again. I would be good for another day or two before I would feel the insistant urge to feed once more. Slowly, I concentrated on carefully removing my fur, letting it slide back into my body on its own, then waited as my hind paws became my legs and feet. Sitting in the leaves naked was suddenly very cold, and I stood up, stretching my arms out and dressed quickly. I brushed as much dirt off me as I could, but unfortunately there was a lot still left on my legs and hands. As I slid my camisole over my head and zipped up my skirt, I heard Love's voice in the distance, shouting.

"Harley! Harley Neven! Where are you?" Love sounded frantic and I made a lot of rustle and noise as I called back to him.

"Love! I'm over here!" he came running to me and pulled me into his arms tightly.

"Goddamn it Harley you scared the piss out of me!" he said, not letting go. "I heard some wolves howling out here and came to find you but you didn't answer!" Here, he finally held me out at arm's length. "Where the hell were you?" he demanded. His looked at my arms and legs and face with much concern.

"Well, after you fell asleep, I came out here for a walk and I guess I lost track of time," I smiled weakly, hoping this would be all he required.

"How did you get so dirty then?" he asked. I thought quickly.

"I fell down that little mudslide trying to get back up here," I said, pointing to a small hill I had seen on my hunt. My clothes were a bit muddy and had a few leaves on them from where they had been lying, so it wasn't too conspicous. He looked over, and apparently satisfied, pulled me to him again.

"Don't do that again, okay? If I fall asleep in a weird place, don't just fucking walk off. There's a lot of shit that could have happened to you out here, especially with wolves around." He tilted my chin to look into my eyes, "I care for you too much to let anything happen to you, and I can't very well prevent it when I'm asleep, can I?" A flicker of knowledge behind his eyes made me wonder - but it couldn't be. He wouldn't hold me this close if he knew the truth. He wouldn't be so worried if he knew what had just happened. I simply hadn't put enough power into my sleep command. I'd have to work on that later. For now though, I just enjoyed being able to be near him calmly for the first time that day.

"I'm really tired all of a sudden," I said, yawning. The blood had satiated me and I felt full and happy. "Can we go home and sleep?" Love smiled down at me, then got a devious look in his eye.

"Not until you do one thing," he said, now grinning from ear to ear.

"What's that?" I asked, suspicious.

"Hold still while I kiss you," and with those words, before I could even answer or move, his mouth covered mine with a light pressure, silencing my gasp. His touch was mind-numbing, I went blank and knew nothing else except that one moment. I closed my eyes and prayed to whatever god looks out for creatures like me that it would never end. It did though, and all too soon. "Well," he said, "I've wanted that for a long time now. Yes, we can go home." I stopped him though, which surprised us both.

"Not so fast, Love," I whispered. I wrapped my arms around his neck and he picked me up, our mouths finding each other again. My fingers tangled in his hair and our breath intermingled as our tongues searched each other out. For the first time I could taste him fully. He was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. Just kissing him made me hungry again, though I had just eaten. His hands pressed into the flesh of my back, through the satin camisole. I sighed into his mouth when he touched me and started to rub one of my legs up and down his.

"We should go before this gets out of control," he mumbled into my mouth.

"I thought it already had," I replied, and knelt down on the ground, pulling him with me. As we knelt, his fingers toyed with the hem of my camisole until I ran my hands over them. He gripped the smooth green fabric then, and I helped him slide his fingers under it. The feel of his skin on mine was electric. I felt like all of my being had shrunk to fit into the tiny area he was touching. I leaned back and my tongue traced his lips, first the lower, then the upper, before I kissed my way down to his neck. A dangerous place for me to be, but ultimately too tempting to resist. There the skin was so smooth, so thin, so pale, and it tasted almost the sweetest of all. His hands moved from my stomach to my back under my top and were working their way up and down my most sensitive spots, tickling me and making my mouth press harder and harder on his throat. I felt my teeth begging to sharpen, but I fought it. I refused to give this up now that I had him.

"Awfully ticklish tonight, aren't you?" He pulled away from me and smiled. I smiled back at him, then stood up and made as if to run away.

"I only am if you can catch me!" I said, and took off. At first, he had no idea where I had gone. I admit, I added a little extra speed to my flight initally, but then remembered that he was a full human - not a half-breed or a wolf, but a human. So I stopped using my abilities and just ran around normally, leading us back towards the car slowly in a zig-zag pattern. Just twenty feet away from it he "caught" me, and pulled me gently to the ground. Squealing and giggling, he had me held down with one hand, while he tickled me with the other. While this went on, my top was riding higher and higher on me, and was nearly nonexistant. My skin prickled in the chilled air and my nipples were tiny pebbles, but yet my body felt like it was on fire. "Accidentally," Love's fingers happened to brush the bottom of my breast and I breathed in sharply, tilting my head far back as he did it. When I did this though, I found myself at the recieving end of a kiss I had only felt one other time.

As he buried his face in the flesh of my throat I growled low and long, almost purring. His tongue moved like an expert's over the veins and arteries, finding the tiny hollow, the most shallow part of my skin. I waited for the feel of teeth, and when none came, I was almost surprised. He didn't mean to feed from me, I realized quickly, laughing at myself for considering the option again that he wasn't fully human. He rested there, though, placing little kisses all around the area and directly in the hollow as well. I moaned quietly, and he lifted his head and moved up to kiss me again.

"Something you want?" he breathed as our lips touched. I nodded drunkenly and broke away.

"You," I said with finality.

"What happened to things maybe getting weird?" he pressed, not willing to let it go. "I won't lose you for anything, Harley." I felt my heart melt at those words and as I kissed him while I thought, I began to wonder if he should know.

"Snap out of it!" my thoughts came screaming back to me. It could never work, there were too many obstacles. "He feels so good though"...my mind was a blur. I didn't know what to do . My body ached for him, my mind was screaming for him, my heart was begging for him - but still I didn't know.

"Harley?" he brought me back from my own thoughts by touching my cheek lightly. "What's going on in that mind of yours?" I tried to kiss him again but he pulled away slightly. "No, I want to know first. Is this going to make us different?"

"We're already different, Love. Why should we stop this when it feels so right?" I leaned in to kiss him again, but he stopped me once more.

"It feels right for now but will it feel right tomorrow morning? Or the day after? Or when we have to see our friends again?" He was insistant, holding me close enough so that I could hear his heart beating faster as the excitement grew.

"I don't know," it was the only answer I could give him. I truly had no idea how we would end up, especially if he ever knew what I was. Writing a story about something is one issue - living with that something is another issue entirely.

At my answer, Love pulled out of my arms. I whimpered and he shook his head slowly. He was breathing hard, and I could see that our little chase and his excitement had almost winded him. I guessed he had been running around when he was looking for me, probably after hearing my howl.

"I will not lose you later just so I can have you now," his voice was calm and measured, but his eyes betrayed his frustration at having to tell me that. "Let's get back, it's getting late." He offered his hand to help me up, and left me no room to argue. I took his hand, feeling the warmth that flowed through it. Knowing that I might never feel the rest of him saddened me. Somehow though, this made me more determined than ever to find a way to have him. I had said I would do anything to have him - and this was my chance to prove it. If I was going to get what I wanted I needed a perfect way to separate my lives so he didn't have to know.

We got to the car and he was still holding my hand. Before he got in, he squeezed it gently.

"I'm sorry Harley," he began. I shushed him and smiled.

"Don't apologize honey, you're right. Until we can be sure about this, I'd rather have you as my friend than lose you later as a lover," he smiled at this and got into the car, and I walked around and got into the driver's seat.

The ride home was faster, it seemed, partially because the moon had already set and I had finally fed. The rabbits hadn't been much, but as the alpha leader, I had gotten the lion's share. We pulled into the parking lot and walked side by side to the front door of the dorms, and Love held it open for me to walk in. My room was pitch black as we entered, and it took a moment for me to get the lights on. When I did, we just stood there blinking in the harsh light before we both moved for the bed.

"I didn't bring a sleeping bag or anything," Love blushed and looked down as he spoke. "I guess I thought I would just be put into one of the other rooms." I smiled at him, feeling wicked.

"Well, all the other rooms are full this weekend - but if you don't mind sharing..." I let myself trail off and looked at him coyly. "I mean, I think I can control myself in bed with you." At this he looked up and grinned.

"So you're not mad at me about before?" he asked.

"Of course not!" Here I paused though, "we'll be fine. We do need to get our showers before we sleep though. I don't know about you, but I got pretty dirty out there."

"Please tell me that there's only one shower, too," his voice sounded only half-serious. I giggled and threw a clean towel at him.

"No such luck hon', but if you ask really nicely, I might be enticed into soaping your back for you." He laughed with me, but I noticed that he closed his eyes for a moment to smile. I felt good to know that he desired me, and pretended not to notice. While I looked away though, I saw something at my window. It was a small piece of bloodstone, a signal from my "mentor" that I was to meet him under the large oak outside the dorm. My breath caught, and I cursed my luck. He would send for me on tonight of all nights! I glanced at Love, making sure he hadn't seen it, and turned to pick up my robe off the hook so we could go shower.

***

After our showers, and much bumping and jostling in bed as we played around and made jokes about finding ourselves in embarassing positions come morning, I felt Love's breathing slow and deepen next to me. I had positioned myself so that I could get out of bed without too much commotion, and carefully drew back the covers so I could make my escape and meet Dermot, who had left me the stone. Down behind the dorm there was an old oak that towered over everything. At night, no one went back there and it was a perfectly deserted spot. As my eyes made out Dermot's form waiting for me, I realized that there were only a few hours until dawn. It was odd for Dermot to wait for me so late, but whatever it was, he needed to talk to me badly. I crept up behind him, but as always, wasn't quite silent enough.

"Spending a lot of time with that boy aren't you, Harley?" was his way of greeting me.

"What I do with my time is my own business, Dermot. Now what do you want so badly that you'll call me out of bed just before dawn?" a note of impatience slipped into my voice and he looked at me sharply.

"You'll do well to watch your tongue, little hare," his tone was a bit more hostile than usual towards me. Dermot and I have never gotten along well - in fact, the first time we met was the only time we had been truly friendly. I only curtsied to his "advice" and demanded again that he tell me why I was being called so late.

"It's because of your little friend, darling," he told me. "There are those of us who would prefer to be able to move about freely - not watched and hunted as in the old days."

"And why would he bring us back to the 'old days', Dermot dear? No one has ever believed vampire stories before - why would they believe a short story written by a boy now?" Here I paused and he looked at me suspiciously.

"You talk too much Harley," he said finally. "One day you're going to let that pretty little mouth of yours get you into trouble that you can't get out of - and don't expect me to be there to help you." I laughed at him. Dermot? Help me? Not likely. He never had and I'd be damned if he ever would.

"No worries of that, Dermot darling. He won't write anything of importance if I don't tell him about it. Besides, most of the stories have us fairly well pegged anyway. Especially dear Stoker's tale. Who would have thought that one of the earliest vampire potboilers could have been so accurate? He must have studied the Impaler closely," my tauntings were making Dermot's face grow more grim by the moment. His body was stiffening and his hands clenched into fists. By the time I was finished, it was all he could do to keep from backhanding me to the ground.

"Enough," he said, his voice chillingly even. "The only reason I don't kill you outright for your impudence is because you are my blood," he paused and regained some of his composure. "You swear to me that this boy won't publish his story and bring ruin down on us all?" I nodded. "Then go - but remember my warning, my little hare. Keep your mouth busy doing things that it's good at. Your boy will be happier that way in any case, I'm sure," he snickered and started to walk off across the back quad. I growled under my breath and attempted a quick lunge at his retreating back which he dodged easily, laughing. I stood and brushed myself off, still growling. As I looked for his form again in the shadows, I saw nothing but a wisp of mist floating on the breeze over the tops of the dorms.

"What the hell is going on here?" Love's voice came from behind me and I felt my whole body ice over. I turned around and saw him standing in a pair of black sweatpants and a navy blue t-shirt, his arms crossed in front of his chest. If he hadn't looked so concerned I might have been turned-on at seeing him like that. I came closer to him and tried to think of an explaination. Just as I got near him though, he held out one arm to stop me.

"Love, let me explain," I began. He crossed his arms again, looking stern.

"Please do," he said. "There's been a lot of shit going on today that I don't think you've been straight with me about." I almost flinched at his words. I couldn't think of a way to explain easily. "You could start by telling me who that was you snuck out to see," his words had an edge to them and I realized he had probably heard everything. Dermot had obviously seen him and made sure to speak clearly enough so that he could hear. I had no way out. If I lied to him again, I knew I would slip somewhere. At least, I figured, if I told him and he left, then he could walk away knowing the truth.

"We should go inside," I said and held open the door for him. He could see this was big and went back to my room with me.

Once we were back inside, I sat on my bed and pulled my knees to my chest. He remained standing in the middle of my room.

"This is tough for me to begin. I've never had to explain this to anyone before," he shifted his weight from one leg to the other and said nothing. I took a deep breath, "Last year, I went to a party for my friend's birthday. There was a lot of alcohol and even more people. Her parents were out of town so we were free to get trashed. It was one of the last parties of the year before graduation," I paused to look at him and he only nodded. "While I was there, my friend introduced me to a friend of a friend, this grad student named Dermot. I had just gone through a nasty breakup and Dermot's attention to me felt wonderful. We spent most of the night in a corner, discussing vampire myths. It turned out that he was getting his masters in that topic, so we had a lot in common to talk about. By the end of the night, I was pretty smashed and he suggested that we find a more secluded place to talk. When we got to the bedroom he led us to - I blacked out." Love's breath grew shallow here, and I could see him tense up. I went on with my story, not letting him react.

"When I came to, it was still night and Dermot was asleep next to me. I was scared out of my mind at first and tried to sit up to run, but I felt so light-headed I fell back. That's when Dermot rolled over to face me." Love stopped shifting then and I saw his jaw clench. My heart raced faster as the tight shirt he wore stretched as his biceps flexed. No one could inspire in me the same kind of thrill, the same kind of fear that he could when he was this mad. I rushed on, hoping he wouldn't interrupt me too soon.

"He told me that he hadn't touched me except to make a 'withdrawal' as he called it. That's when I felt something running down the side of my neck. I reached up to touch it and felt a sting run through my body from my neck. Two punctures still leaked blood there. I think I started to try to scream then," Love walked over to the chair in the corner of my room and started gripping the wooden back of it. He was trying not to lose control and I couldn't quite tell if he'd heard exactly what I'd said. "He covered my mouth and was very nice about it," I went on and Love looked at me sharply. "He explained what was going on and what had happened to me. He said that he had asked me while we were talking at the party if he could feed from me and I had agreed. I don't remember that, but it's possible I had agreed and then had too much to drink.

"Feed from you? What the fuck is all this Harley?" Love crossed the room and took my face in his hands so he could look into my eyes. "Tell me you don't really believe these stories," a note of disdain touched his voice.

"I have to believe them, Love. I am one," I stood to face him then, and his eyes dropped from mine. "I'm trying to explain things to you, baby. Don't push me away, please. I've never explained this to anyone before," I reached to touch his shoulders, but he moved back. I felt my heart sink and sat back down on my bed. I remembered one of the earliest things that Dermot told me then, and repeated it quietly to myself.

"What did you say?" Love looked up at me when I spoke.

"It was just something Dermot told me soon after I changed. He warned me not to tell anyone because people don't really believe and we'll be locked away from those we love if they know," for the first time that night, I finally felt a single tear slide down my cheek, searing it like liquid fire. I angrily brushed any other tears away with the back of my hand and stared down at my knees. Love sat down on the bed next to me and gingerly placed his arm around my shoulders. I shivered slightly and he started to move it, but I didn't want him to and turned to face him quickly. "Don't go," was all I said.

"I won't," he told me as some force pulled us close and we found our mouths locked together again.

My eyes shut but I still knew everything that was happening, and every touch, every stroke set my skin alive. There was more passion in that one kiss than I had ever felt before or would ever feel again, and the next thing I knew we were lying in my bed, carefully peeling clothes off each other. It was a warm night, and the heat from both of our bodies had our thin nightclothes sticking to us. I felt his lips lay a trail of kisses from my jaw to my neck, to my breasts, where he paused to suck and tease my nipples. I moaned and arched my back, pulling his t-shirt off of him the rest of the way. He slid back up my body to face me and the feel of his bare chest to mine was heaven enough.

"I do believe you," I heard him whisper to me. I asked him why and he responded, "because I love you. You wouldn't lie to me." He looked at me then, and saw the surprised look on my face and realized what he had just said. He blushed like mad and I smiled at him, kissing him over and over, moving my lips to his earlobe and biting it gently.

"I love you too," I whispered back. His body tensed for a moment, then he wrapped his arms around me and we flipped over in bed, putting me on top. He closed his eyes and smiled, taking my hands and kissing them. Slowly, our bodies found a similar rhythm, rocking back and forth. I leaned forward and kissed him, and let my body mold against his. He put his arms around me, sighing. I looked at him warily, frightened of what he was thinking.

"Are you sure?" I said, and he kissed my cheek lightly.

"I've never been more sure," he said, his voice deeper than before. Carefully, I placed myself right above his hardness, and slid down with a shudder and a gasp. As he filled me I dragged my nails lightly across his biceps. I looked into his eyes tenderly and brushed a strand of hair from his forehead. I could feel it as our heartbeats matched each other's. It felt like fire was rushing through my veins, and each thrust made me moan louder. Love's fingers danced over my skin and it turned as pink as it had been in my fantasies. His mouth covered one of my nipples and a delicious shiver went down my spine. His teeth tugged on it gently and I let my hips grind down harder into his. He gave a low groan and arched his back, thrusting up into me. I felt release coming and moved faster, with him keeping pace. We both knew this would only be the first of many times. We kept moving back and forth, finding new ways to please one another until sunrise. As we curled up together in the soft cool sheets, still touching and kissing, he smiled at me.

"We're forever, aren't we?" he asked.

"Forever's a long time, Love."

"I know."

"So long as you know. Yes, we're forever."

***

The lack of work we did the next day was astounding. We spent the entire time rolling about in bed, holding each other and dozing off looking into one another's eyes. We barely spoke a word, since it didn't really seem necessary. His skin was as soft as I had imagined it all those nights, and the way he looked at me was enough to confirm that he had been thinking about me on some lonely nights as well.