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April 15, 2024

Strange Bedfellows 16

By Lydia Manx

I nodded and waited. He didn't need my verbal prompts. He was in a solemn thoughtful mood. Simon would reveal as little or as much as he desired. I didn't much care for Kenyon and looked forward to being given the order to execute him. But without my Master's approval I wouldn't be welcome home, so I would wait for the command.

"There was a time when you would have been happy to call him your friend. Natasha, you easily would have welcomed him as your lover in those days. His laugh was uplifting and his moods were lighthearted and agreeable. The creature he became was my fault. I could have changed what happened but ignored the signs. Kenyon had seemed incorruptible. That was an error in judgment of epic proportions." I heard Simon on the other end of the phone as he drank deeply from the glass and from his ruffling through my mind I knew it was blood. Alcohol wouldn't cause his speech to slow and his touch to be so smooth. I was being caressed from the inside out. The waves of longing and pleasure warred with my desires. My Master treasured me. Then he pulled out and shut off the ties between us. The feeling left me lonely.

"Kenyon found a human. Naturally he loved her. He kept her secret from us all. Back then we vampires were more connected than now, believe it or not. We had to because we were hunted so easily and there weren't as many of us. The rules in place for vampires were enforced with little thoughts other than protecting our kind. We knew his life had been hard as a human but whose hadn't? The world today is so soft and easy. We can't even begin to explain to these sheep. They get shots for diseases that destroyed entire cultures overnight. Something not right in their bodies -- they pop into the local drugstore and buy a pill. Pulling out their credit cards, they worry about paying back their debts later, if at all. Entirely different world back then." He paused and sipped. A thread of worry slipped inside as what he said sank in slowly.

"Natasha, there's always someone out there waiting and watching. It never is who you expect. Betrayals come in so many flavors. Kenyon's human was young and vulnerable, as all gentle beauties seem to their lovers. She wasn't as in love with our vampire friend as he was with her. But then he didn't know women very well. He had a poet's soul and a fool's heart. He revealed his secret late one evening and she was disgusted enough to tell her friend. Her friend happened to be the local vampire hunter. She hadn't realized that -- much less thought vampires were possible. Her babblings were that of a young woman playing off her suitors and trash talking, as it's called now. The man, Brewster, was also very much in love with the gentle maiden and did what any good man of the times was supposed to do. He staked her in the center of town then with her head on a pike and garlic in her mouth declared her a vampire to the entire town. For despite his love, he knew she was tainted. After all, it had been his job to hunt out such atrocities and even though he loved her, he didn't want her spawning more demons. The town was very pleased by his pureness of heart and purpose. In those dark times there were many suitors staking out their errant girlfriends in the town square. At that point Brewster hadn't ever found a real vampire, but we didn't bother to correct his misconceptions."

I absorbed the pain that flowed from Simon as he let loose a bit of what he was feeling. It was strong and bitter. But I welcomed the connection for what it was. My Master. I wanted to ask how it was his fault, but didn't interrupt.

"After killing the girl, Brewster hunted for Kenyon's resting spot and was happy to find the vampire seemingly without any protection. Nightfall was an hour away and the man dawdled in his preparations. He made one common human error. As he'd only slain humans it was a natural mistake of the era. He thought the legends told were true and that the vampires died when they slept. As you well know that's not the case. Brewster tried to stake Kenyon before he'd completely immobilized him. Kenyon woke and began tearing Brewster into bite-sized pieces. Even while dying, Brewster taunted Kenyon with the death of the lover and the knowledge that all vampires were cursed and damned creatures. Kenyon went feral after he finished killing the hunter. But Brewster's damage was absolute. The taunts were finely honed and destroyed Kenyon's humanity."

Another gulp and finally, "I was supposed to assess the damages for vampires and to Kenyon. It was a busy time and I misread the reports. I thought Kenyon was learning his true nature and had turned on trying to have human connections. I didn't realize until much later how much had been broken in Kenyon. By then he'd disappeared and began to build his own clan. We allowed him to live."

There was his 'fault'. Arrogance was a flaw of humans and vampires alike. Our mistakes just tended to last for generations.

Trying to distract him from the sorrow I felt coming from him I asked, "Sire, you know that Tori Truman was friends with Jessie?" I hadn't ever met the vampire before tonight but we tended to keep clear of each other as a rule. Jessie was definitely a new class of vampires. They socialized in groups and met up for coffee and cocktails. The transition of becoming a vampire didn't seem to impact how they'd lived as humans.

"Yes, Natasha, she used to be a rather popular singer. I found her enchanting." That sent off a ping as I hadn't realized she was part of my clan. I really had to start making more of an effort to mix with the newer vampires. Kenyon's club and keeping tabs on my own fledgling, Damson, distracted me from the new layer of vampires being created.

His chuckle was warm and light.

"Jealousy is unnecessary, my Pet. She's not truly of our blood. She was acquired a while ago and Jessie took a shine to her. Miss Tori was having trouble transitioning from human to vampire and her Master sent her to us. There have been some problems down in Mexico with the drug traffickers and her brand of justice tended to be along the lines of kill them all and let the press sort them out. It was beginning to call attention to vampires after she'd been spotted taking a pint of Type O Negative. The cop in question was still alive at the time and screaming about 'las vampiros' so she pulled out his heart in front of a witness. That took some sorting out naturally." He laughed at the misfortune of another Master. Strangely hearing his explanation of Tori did help me unwind a bit. That and his laughter, his sorrow was momentarily forgotten and he was no longer blaming himself for Kenyon.

"Go to sleep now, Natasha. You have done well." I was forgiven my earlier transition and felt the lush pleasure of his mental caress. There were still pressures and things to be resolved between us but I was happy. Distance wasn't always good for the Master-Fledgling bond and I was hoping I could go home soon.

"Goodnight, Sire." I sighed and shut off my phone. Nobody needed to contact me. Harry would show up eventually. Walls and locks rarely kept the old spook away.

My thoughts gave wing to action and I felt the shift of wind as Harry cleared the back wall. I grinned under the covers while he made his way into the bedroom. I chuckled and said, "Tori on ice somewhere?"

His laughter was soft, "For now."

He sat on the edge of the bed. I didn't get up to greet him given my current state of undress. Harry was sexy as all hell but not mine. Vampires who wanted to live to see another night didn't poach. Smart ones didn't need rules from unseen vampire council members.

Stroking back a stray hunk of my hair he said, "Thanks for helping. That wasn't going to end well. Are your wrists burnt?"

The backlash from catching leashed power was bad enough but the knock out spell Tori had cast was raw and pure nasty. We healed fast as a rule with a good gulp of blood and I hadn't been given any access to take out so I wasn't going to have my pure pristine skin for a while. The added effect of magic was the spots where my bracelets had caught the spell were burning and itching.

"Yeah." I hated being reminded of the injuries. They heated up with the mental attention. I squirmed a bit and kept my arms still.

"You need to eat." It wasn't a question but a fact.

"I'll grab a bite later. I don't think the werewolves would appreciate me snacking on their help unasked." I hadn't seen any humans but could feel a few heartbeats that weren't hot and fast like the werewolves. They were probably guarding the wolf child since Buddy was dead. The house appeared big enough to have at least a dozen rooms. With the construction appearing to be a ranch style home it would be assumed there wasn't another level. With our sense of smell and hearing I knew there was an entire underground fortress. They'd try to dampen the sounds with heavy layers of insulation and concrete but I knew better.

"Natasha, you have to eat. Take some of mine." He offered his wrist. I'd never had any of Harry's blood and unbidden my fangs fell into my mouth slickly and hungrily. His voice was soft, "You have to be strong and healed. I need you."

If I was another type of woman that would have been extremely tempting on so many levels but I wasn't sure it was wise. Simon popped into my mind unasked and told me it was allowed.

Looking at Harry I said, "No, fair you called Simon first."

"Naturally. I had realized you weren't going to be able to feed and with the injuries you weren't going to be at a hundred percent. My blood is strong and will take care of the residual magic." Hypnotically my eyes followed his thumbnail as he easily sliced open his own wrist. Just like all the good suicides he went with the vein and his blood welled up in the inch long cut.

My mouth watered and I pulled his wrist to my mouth and quenched my thirst. I'd never felt such power. He was far older than Simon. My mind was racing as memories of his washed through my mind. His vampire power pushed and danced along my skin. My arms quickly healed and the toxin from her magic left, making me feel lighter and somehow cleansed.

Maybe a minute passed and I heard Harry saying, "Enough, Natasha."

I reluctantly pulled away but not before swiping my tongue over his wrist healing the self-inflicted incision. His wrist would have mended on its own, but since he'd intentionally opened it up, it would have taken longer than normal. I was nearly floating off the bed with the infusion of Harry's rich blood.

He pulled the sheets up to my shoulders, he'd got a hell of a view while I'd fed, I belatedly realized. Being a true gentleman, he pretended that hadn't occurred. I was too sated and muzzy headed to say anything. Tapping my cheek softly with his hand he said, "All better now. I will see you tomorrow. Archer said he'd meet us in the living room when we woke. I think Carlos and Marcus are having an impromptu pack meeting."

I watched him exit the same way he'd arrived with little movement on my part. I was wallowing in the erotic sensual feelings of Harry's blood. He was even more amazing to me now more than ever before. I was awed by the power he'd given me. I didn't think I'd ever sleep with all the energy I'd been given, but soon I found myself drifting off.

To be continued ...

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2009-07-06
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