“I was stupid, inexperienced. And we were so much in love. When I realized what I had become, I crawled to her on my hands and knees and begged her forgiveness. I was so terribly sorry to have ruined our plans for a life together. Barbara, though, had other ideas. She pointed out that, according to all information, we could now share eternity. All I had to do was turn her, make her into a vampire too.
“I was reluctant, but she convinced me. She was so beautiful, I couldn’t bear the notion that she would eventually age and die while I’d live forever.
“We planned the ritual carefully, almost as if it were our wedding ceremony...”
“The photos–” Lara interrupted.
“Right.” Jim laughed bitterly. “I set up the camera to record it all. The initiation of my beloved into the realm of the undead. But it all went terribly wrong.” He choked back a sob. Lara felt a sympathetic lump in her throat.
“Everybody knows how you make a new vampire. First you drain the victim’s blood, bringing her close to death. Then you allow her to drink your blood. That’s what we planned. That’s what we did. It was incredible, terrifying and ecstatic.”
“But she died. I couldn’t save her. I couldn’t turn her. Since then I’ve learned the truth.”
Lara was silent, waiting.
“To create a new vampire, you must suck the victim’s blood while you’re physically connected. While you’re having sex.”
“No, it’s no joke. That’s why I ended up this way. That girl at the party—all she really wanted was my blood. But one thing led to another, and eventually we were fucking. I don’t think she really understood either.”
No wonder his little demonstration had produced such an intense effect. For him, blood lust and sexual desire were inextricably entwined. The instinctive drive to reproduce, to bring more souls over the boundary of death into the shadowy world that he inhabited, this was something he could not deny, and could only imperfectly control.
Lara knew she should be frightened. She should get out his seductive presence before she made a final, incorrigible mistake. The risk, the pure reality of it, only made her want him more.
He was watching her. She could feel his eyes on her lips, on her throat, on the rise and fall of her breasts as her breath quickened.
She glanced around the bar, filling up now that it was after five. Donnie’s was not known as a “blood” bar, but still, she noticed half a dozen men wearing capes and pale make up, plus two or three women in slinky black dresses and wigs. It was pathetic, the way they all craved a fleeting taste of inhuman power, a brush with immortality. And here she sat, thigh to thigh with the genuine article.
“I don’t fully understand it,” Jim said, obviously catching her thoughts once again. “Why would they want to be me? Power’s nice, but overall, I live a pretty lonely and miserable existence.”
“Maybe—maybe I can make you feel less lonely. For a little while.” Lara cradled his cheek for an instant, then pulled his mouth to hers. His lips were soft as any flesh, warm and muscular as they met and molded to her own lips. She tasted the wine he had been drinking, with background flavors of iron and salt. His tongue, too, felt human, jousting against hers, exploring, questioning.
Her rigid nipples pressed rudely through the stretchy fabric of her top, pleading for his attention. Of course he knew what she wanted. Without breaking the kiss, he cupped both breasts, tracing symmetrical circles around the tips. Her pussy clenched. Her thighs opened involuntarily. She rocked back and forth on the bench, rubbing her clit against the hard wood.
“Please,” she moaned against his open mouth, and then was silent, realizing that she did not have to say anything. He broke the kiss to throw a twenty pound note on the table, then pulled her to his chest.
“Imagine your apartment,” he said, close to her ear. “Think about your bedroom. And hold on tight.”
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