The three vamps, close friends despite the great disparity in their ages, crowded around the monitors in Vlane’s private office.
“There! Look. Who is that?” Armand pointed at the screen directed toward the entranceway. A small female dressed in flowing white silk and jewels stepped into the foyer, looking around as though lost. Her head swiveled this way and that as she clutched her tiny bag and shifted her weight nervously from side to side. The creature nearly jumped a foot when Zarek, the vampire guard watching the door, suddenly appeared in full Gypsy regalia and requested her invitation.
Vlane went still as he felt something fire to life deep within his chest.
“Christ. How did I miss that?” Kristoff murmured.
“I do not know,” Armand mused. “But I cannot recall her, either.”
Three pairs of predatory eyes fixed upon the display as they switched from one camera to another to follow her progress. They watched intently as the delicate figure made her way further into the ballroom, drawing attention and receiving curious, polite nods of greeting by male and female guests alike. While her movements were inherently graceful, they also appeared to be hesitant and uncertain. She gravitated toward the outer edges of the ballroom, seeking the shadows.
It wasn’t enough to escape notice, however. Males in particular seemed inexplicably drawn to her. As one after another approached, she shook her head, presumably declining offers of drink and dance.
“It goes on like this for a while,” Armand said quietly. He fast-forwarded the images until the tape showed Vlane entering the ballroom, obviously searching for something — or someone. He ignored all attempts to garner his attention, striding purposefully along the edges of the room, his eyes fixed on the open French doors leading out to the balcony.
“Switch to the outside camera on the north side,” Vlane said, some vague recollection haunting the edges of his mind, just out of reach.
Armand did so, reaching over to tap the keys. The picture changed, showing the woman at the far end of the balcony. Her back was toward the ballroom, and the camera; her hands rested on the stone wall as she looked out into the perfectly manicured gardens. In the video, Vlane appeared and hesitated briefly before continuing across the polished stone until he stood directly behind her. The woman gave no indication she was aware of his presence, but that was not unusual. Vampires had the ability to move silently, a necessary skill to avoid frightening their prey.
They remained like that for several long moments. Then, Vlane stepped forward. The woman tensed visibly when he placed his hands on her shoulders, but made no move to flee. Moments later, Vlane swept the gently cascading tendrils of hair to the side, exposing the creamy, peach skin at the delicate curve of her neck. His arms went around her waist and his head lowered slowly, nuzzling as hers drifted to the side.
The silence was heavy as the vampires stared at the screen, transfixed. The woman’s body jerked as Vlane struck sure and true, sinking his fangs deep into her vein.
“Christ,” whispered Kristoff, tasting his own blood where his fangs had pierced his lip.
In the video, Vlane lifted his head, his face a study in pure, unbridled ecstasy.
And then, he collapsed.
The woman turned, her face still concealed by the mask she wore. Rivulets of dark ruby were clearly visible running the length of her neck and down the expanse of perfect skin, soaking into the shimmering pearlescent white of her bodice. She knelt down beside him and lay her head upon his chest as if listening before turning her attention to his face.
In an exceedingly tender gesture, she pushed the hair away from his brow and placed one hand over his head, the other over his heart. Her lips moved slightly before she released him. With furtive looks toward the ballroom, she backed up enough to pull him out of the pool of light streaming onto the patio. It was obviously a struggle; she was much smaller than the master vampire, but she was tenacious.
With his dark hair and clothing, Vlane melded into the shadows, but the woman’s gown reflected enough light to capture her movements. When Vlane was completely out of sight, she leaned down. It was impossible to see exactly what she was doing, but Vlane felt the burn of her kiss upon his lips in tactile remembrance.
And then, she was gone — nothing but a ghostly white blur across the gardens.
“Christ, Vlane,” Kristoff murmured. “How could you forget something like that? What did she do to you?”
Vlane couldn’t answer him, awash with palpable memories brought forth by the recorded digital images. He remembered the feel of her against him, warm and feminine. The scent of her perfect skin, and the taste of her exquisite blood; he had never had anything like it. It had been like drinking life itself, a potent cocktail of sunshine and hope and light, flowing over his tongue, down his throat, suffusing his entire body with a strange, tingling energy.
Copyright © 2016 – 2018 Abbie Zanders.
Written by Abbie Zanders.
All rights reserved.