Dead & Living

Then There Was One

"You're leaving?" I asked.

"Yep." Doyle adjusted the old rucksack on his shoulder. "I 'ope yer not expecting a long good bye, Peaches."

"Why?" I asked. One of Doyle's habits, among his many annoying ones, was that he always announced to the world what he planned. It was like a vocal predessor to Twitter.

"Our lil' gang's been squatting for about half a decade now." Doyle told me. "I took the lift with an old bint a couple nights ago. She let it slip that she saw me when I moved in."

"Oh." I said understanding what he meant. While an old woman could easily be ignored, senility of Alzheimer's being the main culprits, someone else might notice how we hadn't aged.

"This has to happens every now and then. Most of the time, ya don't wanna push it past ten years." Doyle shrugged. "Plus, we all can't bolt at the same time."

"Where will you go?"

"I'm gonna get out of tha city." Doyle gazed past me and out a window. "Funny, I never thought I'd get bored with this place, but it just goes to show. Maybe I'll pop over ta Chicago and see if what Maryanne is up ta." Doyle just shrugged again. "Or 'ell, I'll try tha open road I hear so much about. I ain't really sure."

Just like that, Doyle left the nest.

I won't say I pined for his presence, but I found it odd without his constant joking and carefree attitude. Regina said the nest was quiet without him. Even Adrian, who Doyle annoyed the most, claimed the next few days were boring as if Doyle was a source of amusement for us all. Wilhelmina did not betray her thoughts on Doyle absence one way or another, but I did notice she acted if Doyle's room had left with him.

I wondered where he would go. I knew many vampires wandered the country, flitting from town to town like a bee in a field of flowers. Prior to the Great Revelation, it was a necessary practice for our survival. We might never be witnessed feeding or disposing of a body, but someone would eventually take note how we did not change over time. The only locations suitable for us to stay were large cities like New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, and San Fransisco, but even then we would have to move from neighborhood to neighborhood. Although, New York was so large, I could see us spending the next century in the city even if we were forced to move every year or so. I based that on the fact Wilhelmina and Adrian had been since before the city spread enough to cover the three islands it currently did.

Matthew assured I would receive my fee when his dispute with the Alpha and Beta packs was finished, however long that took. I was not unduly concerned. As I said, vampires are deeply proud and Matthew would not dishonor himself by going back on an agreement even if it was to a newborn. He did send part of our agreement, namely the contact information of a few motorcycle repair shops that dealt with our kind.

If I had to put it into a black and white perspective, each of the supernatural beings were different level in terms of social status. And to make thing even more addled, each group had their opinion of the other's level. From what Wilhelmina had explained, vampire were at the very top. The white collar of the supernatural community. You could find us running various business, through human proxies of course, making very large profits and using our non existence to avoid all those pesky laws and taxes.

Below us came the Werewolves and the Shifters. They tended to dominate occupations that dealt with construction and other kinds most would consider blue collar. From my understanding even though vampires grouped them together, Weres considered themselves above Shifters, but that was their business. Within their section, there were the half breeds, humans that had been bitten and changed into some human animal hybrid at the full moon. Among the Weres and Shifters, these were the bottom of the barrel and hardly a step above human.

At the very bottom were the non supernatural beings, humans. The humans had their subcategory. Among those humans were those that could manipulate magical, witches. They are humans that remained human, but still needed to be monitored as they had some control over magical energies, which all the other higher beings very existence were rooted in.

After my meeting with the Sheriff of Area Two, things returned to normal. I resumed my place as Wilhelmina's side and we continued to hunt, Regina and Adrian occasionally tagging along whenever the mood struck them, but something felt wrong. I couldn't put into words, but it was as if Wilhelmina was becoming more distant.

It began in small instances, hardly noticeable at first. She might send me off to find my own meal for the night, but I took that to mean she did not want me fall back on relying on her. Whenever I went to kiss her or touch her in anyway, she would turn and step away from my reach. She no longer sought me out to join her in bed, or any human at all I noticed. Naturally, despite her protests to contrary, I assumed she was still recovering from our encounter on Halloween.

She often left the nest without a word to me and would not return until the next night, giving me only a brief explanation if at all. All she would say is that she lost track of time which she followed with an angry demand to stop policing her like a child. She even went as far to order me to stop pestering her. She had not given me an order in months.

My nestmates were no help. Regina, who watched the silent exchange between us with mild curiosity, said she found it strange. In all her time as part of the nest, a bit three years, the closest thing even resembling Wilhelmina being depressed was when she saw Les Misérables for the first time in a century on Broadway. Adrian, who had met Wilhelmina in the 1860's and always found himself close by, said he had seen her like this only three time before. The first time when hardly a few nights after they had met. The second was during the first few years of World War One and then once more during the late 1960's. He claimed wasn't privy to the exact reason for her gloom, but I knew he was being less than truthful. I resolved to confront him, but as luck would have it it was not to happen.

He must have sensed my intentions because the next night his room was bare. It was as if no one had ever used the room. The only evidence to the contrary was Adrian's scent on the bed and empty drawers and closet. Regina was just as surprised when she caught sight of me standing in the doorway. We just looked from the empty room to each other as if our eyes were not seeing what they were seeing. In the end, we both accepted Adrian was gone. Regina offered to join her to a free concert in Central Park and, with nothing else to do, I accepted her invitation and we both found our meals for the night among the crowd.

I suppose we both expected Adrian, the most polite of our nest, to least bid us farewell like Doyle had, but apparently he found it easier to slip away quietly. I was not overly concerned. I was certain I would see Adrian soon enough. He always seemed to be where Wilhelmina was and since I would be as well, it was just a matter of time.

As if the size of our nest was directly proportionate to her mood, Adrian's sudden and quiet departure seemed to have a profound effect on Wilhelmina. At best, I could describe it as she was going through the motions. I began following her, out of concern, and I did not like what I saw. She completely stopped seducing humans, choosing to ambush an unlucky humans from a dark alley or catch one unawares in Central Park. I was not preoccupied the she had fell back on her habits of killing a human, I had more or less come to accept the fact there was no use fighting, it was the habit she left her kills out in the open.

She might take a minute or two to arrange the body in a more natural manner, but more than once she did not bother to obscure or hide the puncture marks that were an all to obvious sign. I did my best to add to the illusion, but more than once the results of her negligence were reported. Fortunately the articles found in back of unknown tabloids are not taken seriously, but anyone privy to the supernatural world would know better. I just hoped there were no Weres on the police force. At least, not very smart ones.

I was so intently focused on my maker, I failed to notice Regina slowly moving out piece by piece. I'm sure if she was not such an avid collector of clothing, she could have disappeared as quietly and suddenly as Adrian. One night I went to ask her something, if Adrian had mentioned in passing where he might be going, and the door opened to reveal a bare room. The bed still sat against the the wall to my right with two nightstands on either side. There was the dresser with large mirror I had often seen Regina sit in front of as she primped and groomed, now bare of all combs and make up. If it wasn't for Regina's scent, I might have mistaken it for Adrian's.

"Thinking of redecorating?" asked a voice behind me

I turned to see it was Regina. She was wearing a women's business suit. A creamy white blouse with a gray jacket that had dark black buttons. She had a matching gray skirt that reached her knees and her her black pumps matched the blackness of the buttons perfectly. Her midnight hair hung loosely, which actually matched both the buttons of her jacket and shoes, and tumbled in a perfectly down to the small of her back. Resting against her leg was a smallish suitcase that wheels and long handle so one did not become tired by lugging it around. I suppose she thought a plain suitcase might wrinkle her clothes.

"Not really." I said.

"Oh," Regina motioned to the wall. "I was thinking you could knock down that wall."

"Why would I do that?" Maybe to get my frustration with Wilhelmina's mood out my of system, I thought.

"My room and Doyle's is actually the master bedroom. Doyle was using it when I joined the nest. He wasn't happy about it, but he built a wall and split the room in half." Regina explained. "Sooner or later you're going to run out of space to put those comics you like so much, if you and Wilhelmina plan to stay. You could knock down the wall and add some giant bookcases on the walls. Then you'll have a nice private library." The idea seemed to have excited Regina, as if redecorating was a passion she had forgotten and rediscovered. "Maybe you could put a red mahogany desk on the far end, same color as the bookcases, and one of those hollow globes people use for liquor off to the side. Oh, I almost forgot. Some red leather armchairs for guests and some green carpeting."

"That does sound nice." I admitted. "Why don't you stay? At least until that's finished."

Regina frowned and actually believe she was debating whether or not to take the offer. "I'd better not. My husband liked to joke I had a problem. It'll start with a library and it'll end chasing out every human on this floor for an indoor swimming pool and basketball court."

"I wouldn't mind a pool." I said. "I never learned to swim. Its not like I have to worry about drowning anymore."

Regina bent down and pinched my cheek, shaking my head a little with an amused smile. "You are such an enabler, but I can't."

"Then I guess this is good bye." I said, trying not sound desolate.

"For now. We're immortal. Our paths are bound to cross eventually." Regina bent down to my level. "But before I go . . ."

Regina's mouth was on mine before I could react. Regina had often hinted how she would like to sleep with me, often with Wilhelmina or someone else there as well, but I dismissed it as playful teasing since vampire do not mate with each other except for one random night. But as Regina kissed me, quite passionately and her hands bring me closer as I kissed her back, I couldn't help but think she had been genuine in her desire on some level.

Regina pulled away and smiled. "Be seeing you."

With that, she turned and walked out of the apartment, her little suitcase trailing just behind her left leg.

An hour later, Wilhelmina returned from wherever she had been. I caught the faint scent of blood and gathered she must have fed the past hour, but she hadn't sex with the human. I watch as she made her way to her room without a word or even glancing in my direction like I was piece of the furniture. I had been trying to pass the time with the latest of Stan Lee's characters, but I was too distracted to read or even admire the masterful artwork. I tossed the comic book on the coffee table and went to Wilhelmina's room.

As usual, William Wallace's sword and hammer hung on the wall on either side of the closet that held Wilhelmina's clothing and coffin. The canopy bed was still in the same place it had been when I first saw about a year and half ago. Wilhelmina did not sleep in it like I did with mine, unless whenever we agreed a brief respite from a night of passion, but she still changed the sheets and they were the most expensive silk sheets that money could buy. I'm certain that several high end fashion models wore hand tailored dresses made from the same material.

On top of those sheets were the Wilhelmina had taken off, a pastel blue blouse and dark brown pants, along with some underwear on the floor in front of the bed. I sniffed the air and felt at ease. Just her scent was enough to change my mood. I looked to see my maker sitting in front of mirror, like the one Regina had left behind only more grand. She was wearing her white bathrobe as she brushed her hair with one of the brushes she had borrowed from Regina. I silently watched as she made long careful strokes

She had not bothered to tie the belt which did not surprise me. Wilhelmina was a great and enticing beauty and after nearly seven hundred years of being pursued by men and women, she damn well knew it. While it had taken some time for me to accept that I had grown attached to her, some would even use the word love, I would've had to have been blind to deny her beauty. Had she been around the times of ancient Greece, she would have been worshiped as Aphrodite herself, or any deity for that matter.

She might have been to some. I wasn't exactly an expert on fourteen century religious mythology. The way her vibrant hair caught the light like her striking emerald eyes combined with the suggestive curves of her figure and that soft pale skin, it was enough to convince any mortal. To say nothing of her transcendent comprehension of the ways of lovemaking, able to send both men and women on the greatest planes of pleasure few would ever see.

I took a chair that sat in the corner and placed it behind her. I sat and gently tried to take the brush from her hand. She pulled away in alarm, which confused me. Our bond had to have let her know it was me behind her and not some attacker. We stared at each other for a long moment, Wilhelmina's in confusion while I opted for puzzled concern. She looked down at the brush before mentally resigning and placed the tool in my hand. Taking the hint, I began stroking much like she had only moments ago.

A minute or two passed before either of us spoke.

"You have done this before?" Wilhelmina asked.

"Once or twice." i admitted.

"When?"

I hesitated. "Uh, when I was alive."

"Who? Your mother? Your sister?"

"My mother didn't keep her hair long enough and I only had brother." I said.

"A cousin then?" Wilhelmina concluded uncertainly.

"No." I debated with myself whether or not to tell her for a minute. "I brushed Christine's hair when she wanted to grow her hair for a play."

"Christine?"

"Yes." I began drifting towards the middle as I had finished Wilhelmina's left. "Christine Willis."

"This is the first time you've mentioned her." Wilhelmina pointed out. "Your family and friends yes, but I do not think you have ever mentioned this Christine in all our time together."

Perhaps my gift was not all mine as Wilhelmina had led to believe. Nearly a year and change of spending almost every night together and she notices the one little detail I purposely left out. Well, if I was honest. There was quite few details I left out. Details about my life that involved certain patriarchal figure and his strange ways of showing affection to his children. I had done my best to forget or at the very least, refrained from mentioning it to her.

"No, I haven't." I admitted.

"Less than joyful memories?"

"You could say that." I changed the brush to my other hand. "I try to not think of her."

"Why?"

"Well," I paused for the right words. "For the lack of a better word, I wasn't as skilled at talking to women." I chuckled ruefully. "To put it bluntly, anything that even remotely resembled a beautiful woman scared me." I smiled ruefully. "The reason I was so chatty with you was because I was scared to death."

"But not with her."

"No." I confirmed. "Women just used to ignore me and that incident with Brian didn't exactly help. Christine was really the only one who was nice to me. We had shared a couple of classes, but it wasn't until she started dating one my friends that we really started talking to each other, despite the fact we had lived on the same street for years. She became one of the group after that, even after she broke up with him."

"So you sought to take his place?" Wilhelmina asked. "To catch her on the rebound as they say now."

"No. I wanted to, but I didn't." I said reluctantly. "Oh, I thought was by learning to play he piano and guitar or joining in school plays, but I was nothing more than a close friend who would always be there with a smile and a shoulder to cry on."

"Were you close?"

"We did everything a couple did except have sex." I found myself smiling oddly enough. "We would go to the movies, have dinner together, go out for drinks. Hell, we even did laundry together sometimes."

"But she did not desire you."

"She might have." I shrugged. "But she never brought it up and neither did I." There were a lot of things I didn't bring up and why I never invited her over.

"Why not?"

"I suppose I was scared." I said. "I didn't want to risk her rejecting me so I just sat back watched her go with other men. It would end sooner or later and I would be there to comfort her and hoping she'd realize I was the one for her. It was pathetic I know, but that was all I was able to do. Or at least all I thought I could do."

"I'm curious." Wilhelmina said. "What happened?"

"You." I told her. "You happened."

"What?"

"I met you." I said.

"Oh." Wilhelmina seemed to let that sink in as it truly bothered her. "When did you see her last?"

"Our first night together." I said. "Before I left for the city. She sort of had message for you."

"I'm not sure I understand."

"I told her a pretty girl, you, invited me to a party. She joked that whatever happened to let you know I was hers." I paused as I recalled. "At least she grew bored of me. I thought it was cute."

"Do you miss her?" She sounded casual, but I knew it meant more that at face value.

"I'm not sure." I racked my mind for the right words. "I did at first, but it got easier over time. I still sometimes wonder how she handled my death or what she is up to, like she did went on to become a doctor or not, but those are and few between." I paused. "I think I might still care about her or at very least just curious to know how she felt about me."

"Il a cultivé de bien différente dans un délai bref," she whispered quietly to herself. "Mais il tout de même exactement comme vous. Eh, William?"

"That's the second time you've said that." I realized that Wilhelmina had momentarily forgotten I could speak fluent French.

"Said what?"

"When you were draining me, you mentioned a William." I told her. "The blood loss didn't exactly make it easy to process, but I think you said 'just like William.' Did you mean your brother, William Wallace? I've avoid asking because I didn't think it meant much."

"Is your room still light tight?" she asked suddenly.

I blinked. "What?"

"Is it still safe to spend the day in your room?" she stood from her seat, leaving me still holding the brush. "Dawn is approaching."

"I checked it." I told her. "Its the first thing I do every night. Why?"

"Come."

She left the room without another word.

I set down the brush and followed her to my room. As I entered, I saw Wilhelmina sliding out of her robe and climb into the bed. I kicked off my shoes and removed my t-shirt, leaving me in gray sweatpants and a black undershirt as I climbed into bed. I leaned on an elbow and Wilhelmina mirrored me. We often did this after sex. Pillowtalk I think people called it.

"History knows very little of my brother, other than his acts of rebellion against the English." Wilhelmina began. "That is mostly due to me. Our kind tends avoid bringing important or well known humans into our rank. Fortunately, it was a simple matter of glamoring an English general to raze the town where our family had stayed. When William was executed the English sent men with orders to arrest my for my mother and I and any sisters should I have them."

"But they were already dead." I said. "Killed during a raid."

"Yes." She confirmed. "I overheard them questioning the innkeeper of possible survivors and if any were using the name Wallace in the next town over. My maker and I were listening for any loose ends that we might have missed in erasing my existence. The innkeeper, whom my maker had glamored him to forget he had seen us only minutes ago, spoke truthfully that he knew my father and saw that our home was one of the first attacked and had not seen or heard of the Wallace family since."

"But why come after you and your family?" I asked. "If William was already dead, what could you or anyone else do?"

"I assume to execute us as well so we would not bear children and not continue the Wallace line, but it was pointless as the Wallace clan was quite large with cousins spread as far as France. Perhaps to make an example of us?" Wilhelmina paused. "They did eventually find and execute my father. They charged him as a traitor to the crown and had him publicly hanged. My mother had died months before the attack during childbirth I heard the innkeeper tell them, but did not know what became of the child. They naturally tried to force my father to tell them, but all they learned was that my mother gave birth to a son."

"You mean . . ."

"Provided nothing happened to my youngest brother's descendants and each generation sired a son, the direct line of Alan Wallace endures." Wilhelmina instinctively began to curl up against me and instinctively brought her closer. "Though William's ended with him."

"He didn't have children?" I asked as I laid upon my back and wrapped my arm her. "I thought people married really young and had children back then. Like fourteen or fifteen."

"None would give it a second thought, but that was more associated with royalty and those of high station." Wilhelmina said. "It was not much different than it is now. Although I understand for a woman to have a child at sixteen in this era is common for an entirely different reason."

I could vouch for that since I was a product of that reason. My father had gotten my mother pregnat when they were both sixteen and rather than get an abortion, pretty unheard of in late 1968, I was born nine months later the day the United States of America went to the moon on June twentieth 1969.

"So William never had any children?" I asked to cover for my lapse. "Not even out of wedlock?"

"That was what surprised me most about him." Wilhelmina laid her head on my shoulder. "He was a tall man with the body of a giant, with thick strong arms and legs. He had our father's stoic handsome face along with our mother's eyes. He could have an entire tavern hanging on his every word as he told a tale from his childhood and a jester's wit, but he was terrible with women."

"What?"

"He still would have doubts if a woman was to stand before him naked and say take me." Wilhelmina smiled.

"I can sympathize." I said smiling as well.

"He hardly had to crook a finger for a woman to come running ready to spread her legs as wide as the Spey River, but that was as far as things went. He was afraid of being perceived as crude and it would end with the woman becoming disinterested and turning her attentions to a more bold suitor." Wilhelmina chuckled into my shoulder and an arm went over my chest and a leg went over mine. "And when he learned to play the lute, it was like cat surrounded by a dozen mice and completely clueless on how to proceed."

"I take it he was quite good?"

"He was astonishingly talented. He had a fondness for poetry, and he had a knack for telling stories, but he was not an artist with words as others were. It is unfortunate history only knows of his military exploits and hardly at that."

"Its too bad we're in the dark." I said. "If humans knew about us, and didn't try to hunt us down, you and others could fill in the gaps of history or set some things straight. Like Jack the Ripper and Zodiac victims. I'm willing to bet Jack was a vampire and Zodiac was on of his children trying to follow in his footsteps."

"That is an interesting theory, but more likely others used them as a convenient scapegoat. You've seen how easy it is for us track a human. A quick glamor and your human police would be none the wiser. There was a vampire, Jethero, who said he found this Ted Bundy and did exactly that. Another vampire who was visiting from Washington, Chloe, said she had a similar encounter with a Gary Ridgeway." Wilhelmina admitted. "We could if we were to reveal ourselves, but we will never emerge from the shadows."

"I guess you're right." I said, not knowing Gary Ridgeway would eventually be arrested as the Green River Killer in 2001. I was surprised I had not considered blaming my kills on another human. Then again, I avoided killing in general, but I made a mental note to pursue it at a later time. "So I did William ever get over his little problem?"

"It was a simple matter of showing him what he was missing and how easily he had passing it up."

"How?" A thought came to me. "You didn't . . ."

"Again that was something those of higher station than ourselves engaged in. To keep both the bloodline pure and wealth. Our clan was one of wealthiest under English rule, but our family was on the lower end of prosperity." Wilhelmina said. "We did, however, have enough gold for servants and such. I learned that one servant, Beatrisis, desired William and he did as well. I convinced Beatrisis to surprise him in his bed and that was the end of it."

"Really? That was it?"

"They could not keep their hands, and other parts, away from each other." Wilhelmina laughed at her memories. "Once, my father settled a debt with goat and sent her to fetch it from its pen. Several minutes passed before he grew impatient and sent me to inquire after her." Wilhelmina's hand began absently rubbing my shoulder while her leg caressed mine up and down. "I found the goat chewing on a woman's shoe and I heard sounds in the next pen over. I discretely peer around the corner and saw them together on a pile of hay."

"So what happened?" I asked. "Did your father find out?"

"If he was aware, he did not confront either of them as far as I know. Most likely he considered it harmless mischief of youth. My mother said nothing to me so I assume she was not aware or kept it to herself." Wilhelmina began rubbing her cheek, much like cat, against my shoulder. "William eventually left for war, with each return more brief than the last until he thought it unsafe for us."

"And Beatrisis?"

"She eventually married, but to whom I do not remember as I was concerned with William's safety and decided upon following him. I do recall she was with child when she did, William's child, and it was to avoid scandal."

"Then William's line didn't end with — "

"It might have not, but I had already left before the child was born and I do not if the child survived. I also do not know my brother's exploits during his rebellion. He must sought the services of the whores, as all the men did during those times, but I severely doubt any carried the infant to term." Wilhelmina said reluctantly, but firmly. "Once we left our home, neither William nor I returned home. I do not know what my family thought had happened to me. Perhaps, they discovered I had followed my brother to war and some misfortune had occurred or that I met my end when William met his. I suppose that is close enough, but my death was not as permanent as his would be."

I looked over and saw Wilhelmina's eyes were beginning to fill with blood around the edges. Wilhelmina's voice was steady and even, but she was close to tears. It seemed she had been doing what I had been and pushed her human life to the darkest corners of her mind and acted as if they did not happen.

Like actors on a stage, we all assume different roles throughout our lives to others. During my human life I was many things. To my mother I was her son. To my brother I was exactly that. To my father . . . I wasn't entirely sure what he thought of me which I had to admit when the rest of family was clear to me. To Christine, I was a close friend she could always rely on no matter what occurred. I was nothing more than a weakling with slightly more value than those around me to Brian.

When I met Wilhelmina, I took on more roles. I became a predator, a musician, a consultant to others of our kind, but more importantly her companion. Right now, Wilhelmina was not the fearless vampire I had come to love. Nor was she the the mischievous goddess of beauty with eagerness for adventure. No, right now she was merely a girl who missed her brother and blamed herself for his untimely death.

Wymark had better be dead, unequivocally and absolutely dead. Otherwise I would have more than just words for him for exploiting a young woman's devotion to her brother's safety.

I brushed a lock of hair from her face and wiped Wilhelmina's eyes. "I would have loved to meet you while you were alive."

Wilhelmina looked up, taken by surprise. "What?"

I kissed her forehead. "I would have loved to see you laugh in the sun. To see you smile without the darkness brought on by centuries of witnessing the worst the world could offer."

"I do not understand." Wilhelmina wiped her eyes.

"I am so proud." I brought her closer and gently kissed her. "Even after nearly a thousand years of walking in the shadows of humanity and everything that has happened to and around you, you still feel for your brother. You can still laugh and love. I can only hope I still do after so much time."

"You will." Wilhelmina whispered. "i have no doubt even after ten thousand years."

"How can you be sure?"

Wilhelmina drew in closer, "Do you remember when you asked me why I made you and how I told you proved me wrong?"

"Yes."

"For nearly a thousand years, I have fed from great warriors to wise scholars to quivering cowards and not one of them behaved in a way that surprised me. A warrior would do everything he could to fight me. A scholar would use his words before he accepted his death and the coward would whimper and beg." Wilhelmina kissed me for a moment and slipped off my shirt. "When I first saw you, I thought were nothing more than a frightened child beaten down by the world around him so much so that you might welcome death, but then, as the life left your frail body, you did something I did not expect."

"I fought back." I whispered. "

"Yes. You did not beg or cry like I expected you to. Instead, despite years of being beaten down by everyday life, you fought to survive." Wilhelmina began paused to kiss my shoulder lovingly for a moment. "I was small saw William fight three men as large as him with his bare hands and rather then surrender, he continued to fight despite wounds that would have killed a lesser man and won." Wilhelmina then began to chew on my neck. "Then you went on to do the same at Ryuu's and then again when we were captured."

"You told me to think of all things that brought joy to me when I was alive and whether or not they were worth staying." I turned so we faced each other, "Then I would have thought of material things, but not anymore." I went to kiss her. "You are all the reason I need to stay."

Wilhelmina did not turn away like she had been for the past month. She parted her lips and our tongues settled into a familiar, but much more passionate, rhythm. We continued even as she rolled onto her back and pulled me with her so now I was on top of her. My mouth went to her neck as her hands and I heard the unmistakable sound of cloth ripping mixed with a snarl. I had her ear between my teeth when she turned her head and our mouths reunited.

Something was certainly different with her tonight. Other than the time when I first arose, Wilhelmina always on top of me when we had sex. It didn't mater if I made the first step or she did. Wilhelmina was always the one dominating me. Not in the whips and chains sort of way, but in the who' in charge sort of way. She didn't even like me, or anyone that I noticed, on top of her more than a few minutes before she took the reins. If I, or whomever she was with, tried to change positions midway, she would hiss and snarl as she retook. It was like she did not want to be taken, but wanted to do the taking herself.

I pulled away and stared at her. "Wilhelmina . . ."

She responded by seizing the back of my head and shoved my mouth into hers. She then moved to my neck as she began to writhe under me. I gave into temptation and reciprocated. I could feel her fangs pierce my neck and it was a switch had been flipped in my mind and I did the same. Like with me, I drew some blood and Wilhelmina dug her nails into my left hip and right shoulder and her body rubbed against mine with longing.

I pulled away and she allowed me reluctantly, her hands on my rear and trying to bring me closer, "Wilhelmina . . ."

"Please . . ." she gasped. "N'arrêtez pas de"

I gasped I felt a hand begin to stroke. I looked down to see her hand doing exactly and rubbing against her, encouraging me to enter. "After what happened . . ."

"Il n'importe pas." she whispered. "J'ai besoin de cela. J'ai besoin que tu."

I pushed into her. I gasped, and jerked, I began moving at a steady rhythm. I was aware that Wilhelmina had wrapped her legs around my waist and began bringer me closer and deeper. I also felt her clutching the nape of my neck and the small of my back as she moaned in ecstasy. I began to lose myself, my pace increasing, and mixed my own sounds with hers. As I began to move faster and faster, I could her and feel Wilhelmina approach her limit. I lifted my head and we began to kiss with such passion that any human would have suffocated.

I began to feel my own moment coming, like a tidal wave and an avalanche mixed together, and Wilhelmina seemed to be seconds away. Just as I thought I could hold on for more, Wilhelmina threw back her head in an orgasmic hiss and sank her fangs deep into my shoulder. The sensation was so sudden and exciting, the wave crashed with such force I saw a white light as I bite Wilhelmina's neck.

We laid there for a time, trembling as little aftershock rippled through us. Finally, I propped myself on an elbow and Wilhelmina wordless turned on her side with her back to me. I adjusted the sheet and covered both of us as Wilhelmina sighed slightly as curled up closer and wrapped an arm around her.

"Dominick?" She whispered sweetly.

"Hmm?" It was all I could manage as I floated on a cloud.

"Would you sing for me?" she asked. "One last time."

I racked my mind for a song, one that would be perfect, but I was finding it difficult to think after such an intense release. But I eventually decided on one and began to hum. To my surprise, Wilhelmina hummed along with me and continue as I added my voice.

For once, in my life I have someone who needs me, Someone I've needed so long,

For once, unafraid I can go where life leads me, and somehow I know I'll be strong.

For once I can touch what my heart used to dream of long before I knew

Someone warm like you, would make my dream come true.

For once in my life I won't let sorrow hurt me, Not like it's hurt me before,

For once I have something I know won't desert me, I'm not alone anymore.

For once I can say this is mine, you can't take it,

Long as I know I have love, I can make it,

For once I can feel that somebody's heard my plea,

She clasped my hand in hers tightly as the sun rose, ending the night for vampires and bring the day for humans in our half of the world, as we drifted off to sleep.

That was how I spent my last night with the woman I loved.

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