As Kaleb got up, I smelled something. Something very familiar, something very sweet… Something I craved deeply...
“Shit, you’re bleeding.” I said.
“Yeah, I think I hit a piece of glass or something when you tackled me.”
“I’m so sorry... “
I felt guilty but at the same time, I couldn’t help but stare and feeling wanting… Kaleb noticed.
“Do you want to?”
I nodded, feeling ashamed and he brought his cut hand to me face. I started licking, cleaning the wound of the precious red liquid. In the past few days, this had become more routinely… Kaleb was a cutter and I was part vampire. A match made in heaven or in hell depending on who you asked. I wasn’t exactly proud of it. But it was the greatest thing I’d ever tasted...
“I swear I’m getting addicted…” I muttered when it was done. Whatever was in my saliva helped the wounds seal up if they weren’t too big. “Before I met you I never ever… Does it bother you?”
“It’s okay, it’s what you are.” He hugged me and I just rested my head on his shoulder. “And I don’t want you to change.”
“You want to get in?” I asked. “Wait, did you change?”
“I may have taken some of your money to get something to wear. I doubted you wanted to see me show up in my usual duds.”
“Well, I think you look very nice in your normal clothes. But I guess you can rock the two-piece.”
“It’s a little tight at the shoulders actually.”
I took his hand and we went back inside, through the door this time. Nobody seemed to notice our arrival and I looked around the room, Emma was sitting down at the opposite end of the room, looking moody, that made me feel happy.
“You have got to try the food.” I said. “Makes up for the music.”
“I take it you don’t like classical music.” Kaleb answered.
If I had to rate list my supernatural talents, stuffing my face was probably somewhere on there. I might have spent the evening snacking, I still found place to sample everything again with Kaleb as we talked about random things. It was something I liked with him, we had very similar tastes and every conversation was not always about important stuff, instead we talked about music, movies or tv shows. A welcome island of normal in a sea of crazy events.
“Enjoying the buffet? I suggest the grilled peaches. They’re a personal favorite of mine.” Coil said, appearing behind Kaleb.
“Ehm, thanks for the recommendation…” Kaleb said, he turned around. “Mr. Coil.” He practically saluted.
“Who might you be young man?”
“I’m Kaleb, sir.” He wasn’t so much formal as he was terrified. There were around a hundred and fifty people in the room and it had taken less than five minutes for him to spot the intruder.
“My plus one.” I said. “And my boyfriend, he knows.”
“I see…” Coil said, there was something menacing in his expression, as if he was calculating, scheming something. “Well, it is a pleasure to meet you then. Although I didn’t expect a member of the darksiders to attend one of my function.”
“You know who we are? And well I’d be hard to attend without an invitation.”
“I keep track of everything within my city. You stake claim to sizable if somewhat undeveloped territory, which makes you a candidate for intelligence gathering. You’re also currently unaligned and not interfering in my business which makes it wise to leave you to operate as you see fit. I know you have dealings with the Fae and recurrent problem with the Gibou pack. Which remains fairly under wrap, meaning I have no need to interfere although the chase through the boardwalk this saturday was pushing it. I would advise both you and the Gibou pack to avoid doing a repeat.”
“Of course if you cannot handle these problems, I could help. For a price.”
Kaleb didn’t answer.
“And about the invitation. So long as you obey rules of courtesy, all events hosted by the Abendroth and I are open to members of the Covenant. It was good meeting you, enjoy the evening.”
Coil walked away and began mingling with the guests.
“That was scary.” Kaleb whispered, breathing once again.
“He has that presence about him. The stare too, I’d avoid looking into his eyes if I were you. Just in case, he can catch you in it and make you dance to his whims.”
“Good to know… Fuck vampires are scary. No offense meant”
“None taken, I’m just half of one. They are, but Coil is something more; he’s ancient and he’s powerful.”
“You know, I’ve been wondering, is Coil your?”
“No. Of course not. I don’t know who exactly my dad is. I just know my mother met him when she still lived in Montreal, she loved her and they were pretty happy for a year or so all things considered, a sixteen years old girl in love with a vampire five times her age stuck in the form of an eighteen years old boy. But then she got pregnant and she knew Dhampirs were feared so she ran away. That’s kind of it, I just pretended with all my strength I was human and avoided anything that would wake up the instincts within me, even if it hurted inside… Then I met you. And I sort of through the problem wasn’t with what was inside of me but just how I’d perceived it, I was just afraid of the monster inside of me...”
He gave me a hug. “Well, I think you’re amazing for being able to stand tall all this time.” We stayed together for a moment and broke when we heard a murmur through the attendees.
The Abendroth had arrived, fashionably late in fact. Victor and his wife had seemed to want to make quite the fashion statement. He was dressed in a tall and long victorian coat with a waistcoat and a cravat, in addition to which he held a sculpted cane and round gold tinted glasses with side blinders, making it seems like googles
Agatha, the mother, wore a many layered dress with a corset and long gloves. Her hair was hard to describe, but one side had been left long and flowed down, sweeping back up, while the other had been cut rather short and braided close to the scalp, it left half of her face hidden, leaving only a darkly framed eye and red, almost black lips.
If I learned anything is that they knew how to make an entrance. Simon by contrast was almost invisible. Simply wearing a white shirt and black trousers. Several of the attendants virtually swarmed them, having the Abendroth at a soiré was a way to positively spice it up.
To my surprise, Simon headed toward us.
“Good evening.” He said, in the same exact tone he always had. “May I speak with you, Lauren?”
“Sure. I’ll be back in a second, okay, Kaleb?”
“Okay, I’ll be raiding the food.” He answered.
We went a little further and he took a small box from his pocket.
“Please tell me you’re not asking me in marriage.” I said, joking.
“No I am not. I’m unsure what prompted you to believe I was infatuated with you.”
“I was joking…” I said, feeling awkward.
“Oh my apologies then.” He handed me the little box and I opened it. It contained four small vials of clear liquid.
“What is it?”
“Well, since you are or were not part of the darksiders your help in the situation last weekend was unrewarded which is a poor reflection on us, thus I decided to find something to give you as a thank you note. And I admit it is an assumption, but I hope this pleases you, if not, I can arrange for something else.”
“But what is it?”
“A concoction to calibrate hormone production into typical female patterns.”
“Wait. you’re offering me hormones?”
“That is simplifying it, but yes.”
“I don’t know if that’s the best gift ever or the weirdest.” I said. I gave him a hug and he seemed almost confused by the gesture. “I guess you’re pretty human when you want to be.”
He spent the next few minutes explaining how it worked and how to use it. It wasn’t really complicated, just once a week drink a vial. It wasn’t exactly magical, it would take years to have it’s full effects, but I was still happy. Not long after I’d came out, I’d made peace with the idea I probably would never have been able to be on hormone therapy, my mother and I were without insurance and the cost could be nearly a thousand dollar a month.
I went back to Kaleb and told him the news.
“That’s great.” He hugged me. It was a hug heavy evening.
“Want to dance? The Abendroth father got the musician to play something else.” Somewhere along the way, the music had changed along to fast, energetic jazz.
“I’d love to.”