“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
She gasped for air. The pain was excruciating. Words were almost impossible for find. Not that it mattered, since her voice had fled the scene. She shook and cried, and the slight gesture of being lifted into his arms caused new ripples of pain to course through her. If she wasn’t so weak, she would have screamed. All she could do was look up into his eyes. They were full of guilt and panic. This was the end, and they both knew it.
After years of avoiding the truth, all she wanted was voice enough to say, “I forgive you. I love you.”
He stroked her hair and bloody tears gathered on his cheeks in a rare show of sorrow. This wasn’t the first time he’d seen her so close to death, but this time there would be no saving her.
Her voice returned long enough to say, “Don’t let me go.”
Her eyes closed and everything stopped. The last thing she heard was his voice, screaming her name as she drifted away.
† † † † †
Her eyes opened in a damp darkness. For a moment, she thought she was blind. Her pain was gone, replaced with a numb she’d never felt before. It felt like the world was crumbling around her. She kicked and clawed at the grit that encased her until her hand found freedom. She forced her body to follow that hand. She was so much stronger than she remembered. Then there was air and light. It was a soft glow she bathed in as she took deep breaths full of oxygen that didn’t seem to go anywhere. The ground. She’d been in the ground.
She looked around with wild eyes, and realized she was naked. Then his face appeared, waiting patiently for her to spot him sitting there waiting for her. She’d loved him for many years, but had been foolish by keeping it to herself. But now there was a second chance to make it right. He had healed her, she was sure of it. She waited to hear her pulse pound in her ears, but realized her heart was still. She wasn’t breathing unless she told herself to do it. She wasn’t human anymore.
Instead of telling him she loved him, she marched over to him and hit him with the strength of his own kind. Then in a crystal clear voice she said, “I hate you.”
† † † † †
He let her land as many blows on him as she needed to before her strength gave out. He’d been prepared for a volatile reaction from her. She’d never looked down on his kind- now her kind too- but she’d never wanted to be one of them. She had always embraced her mortality. A moment of weakness and sheer panic had caused her to say the words he’d hoped he would hear her say.
“Don’t let me go,” she’d said so quietly that only one of his kind could have deciphered it.
Her fury gave way to hunger. As her maker, it pulled at him too. He bit his wrist and held it out to her. She turned away, disgusted by his gesture. But then she smelled the blood, and her brand new fangs ran out. She knocked his hand out of the way and instead went for his throat. He held her up while her now cool lips sucked hard on the first wound she would make as one of Them.
Lust flooded his body and she could feel his arousal as she drank from him. He growled a deep primal growl that called to parts of her body no other voice could ever reach the way his did. He was no longer just a lover or a co-worker- now he was father and maybe even God. Where decades had once stretched before they would be forced to part, there was now no end in sight. Forever took on a very different meaning for them both.
He forced her to pull back. He was already weak from turning her. He put her down and stared hard at her. Their eyes locked. She moved fast, tearing away his t-shirt. She seemed excited by this new power. Their strength wasn’t matched, of course, but she was stronger than she’d been as a human. She yanked him closer to her. He was being awfully compliant, which wasn’t in his nature. He let her unzip his pants. He stood stock still, watching the way she moved with grace and purpose.
It was strange to feel skin as cool as his own roaming his body. He was used to her warmth, but he would get used to this, too. She pulled his face to hers and with a hungry lust she crushed her mouth against his. The taste of his own blood woke something in him he’d been trying to keep quiet. As one of his kind, there was no need for him to hold back anymore.
His hands roamed her naked body while her mouth moved down his throat to his chest. She nipped at him, enjoying the little shocks it sent through his body. His hand slipped between her thighs and for the first time he could remember, she growled at him. It was a menacing hissing noise that made his insides quiver.
She pushed him down onto the ground and quickly straddled him. There was no finesse about it, no gentle gestures. Without any hesitation or romance she impaled herself on him. She ground herself against him, moving faster and faster, and ignoring any of his attempts to slow her down. She rose and fell as fast as she could. Her urgency was almost frightening but he knew it would fade. When it did, the rage would return.
She cried out on top of him, groaning his name and pushing hard on his chest. His sounds echoed hers. It seemed almost as if she exploded on top of him. Then there was silence.
† † † † †
She sat silently, naked in the grass. He put his jacket around her slender shoulders before taking a seat beside her. “There are things I must tell you. Things I couldn’t tell you when you were human.”
“I don’t want to hear it. I’m not supposed to be here. I should be dead.”
“No, I’m not. I’m undead. You knew this wasn’t what I wanted. You swore you would let me go.”
“I would have if you hadn’t told me not to let you go.”
“I didn’t mean turn me!”
“Then you will meet the sun.” He stared at her, his voice oddly calm and even. “If this isn’t what you want, then you will meet the sun, and have final death.”
† † † † †
“I can feel the sun getting closer.” she looked over her shoulder to see him standing behind her like a guard.
“It is a gift we all inherit,” he explained.
“How long will it take?” she was referring to how long it would take her to die.
“You are a young one. It will take much longer than it would take me. It will be painful. More painful than your mortal death,” he said reluctantly, his eyes trained on the back of her head.
“Is that true, or are you trying to talk me out of it?” she knew him well.
“Have I ever lied to you before?”
“You’ve hidden things.”
“So have you.”
“Before my mortal death I wanted to tell you that I loved you,” she confessed.
“What has changed since then?”
“You broke a promise.”
“I think you broke a promise to yourself.” He knew her just as well.
“Do you love me?” she asked without looking back at him, allowing him the dignity of being able to answer without having to look her in the eyes.
“You are my Child-”
“Do you love me?” she demanded.
“From the moment I saw you.”
“You never told me.”
“Would it have mattered?”
“It would have changed everything.”
“Which is why I kept it to myself. It is easy to assume the truth would have made it all better. But perhaps love would have clouded our judgment, and gotten us both killed sooner,” he suggested.
“I would have died for you.” Her voice was thin and far away.
“I know. It’s one of the things we have in common.” He put a hand on her shoulder and she nuzzled a cool cheek against it.
† † † † †
“We are almost out of time. Any last words?” he asked her as the sun began its ascent.
“Forever wouldn’t be long enough.” She gripped his hand and a single bloody tear rolled down her cheek.
“It would be a hell of a start.” He pulled her close and kissed her goodbye.
As he went to ground the last thing he heard was the sound of the woman he loved screaming his name.