Almost two weeks had passed and I hadn’t spoken to Vance once. I almost called him many times to apologize, but I refrained. I wasn’t going to budge on this. I knew I was being stubborn but this was about principle. I was not going to let him, or any man think they could run my life.
As for the other complication in my life, Leo had remained distant which was really starting to upset me. He was still kind as always, but it wasn’t the same. I missed his playfulness and his affectionate nicknames. I heard that his lunch date with Kendra turned into another for drinks, then a third for dinner. The fact that he was dating really bothered me. I knew that I didn’t have any rights to him, but I was jealous all the same.
To top things off, the investigation was at a standstill. Thankfully, no one else had been attacked but the fact that a murderer was still out there somewhere didn’t sit very well with me. Apparently, the police had explored every possible angle and they still had nothing. They’d even hired Erica to perform a locator spell with Vance, using a piece of hair they’d found at the scene. I guess they were thinking two magical people were better than one. Erica thought this thing was cloaking itself somehow because she’d never failed before when trying to locate someone.
It was my last night working before I had a few days off. I relieved Kendra on Sundays, which I was really dreading. Quite frankly, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing her and Leo together. It wasn’t like I had much of a choice though, considering the fact that I was walking in right then. I scanned the bar. Leo wasn’t there yet which made things a little easier. I took a deep breath to face the inevitable; I had to go behind the bar so Kendra could leave.
“Hey girl, how’s it going?” she asked.
“Um, okay, Kendra. How about you?” I didn’t really want to know but I felt that being polite was the best course of action.
“Well, to be honest, not so hot,” she replied.
“Can I ask you something, as a friend?”
Okay, I would consider us more co-workers than friends, but I’d bite. “Sure.”
“How well do you know Leo?” All right, maybe I shouldn’t have taken the bait. Let me think, what is the fastest way out of this conversation?
“Not well at all. He’s just my boss,” I lied.
“Hmm, that’s weird because he brings you up a lot. Anyway, the reason I was asking is because I need some advice. Leo and I have been on a few dates which all went really well. I mean, he’s super sexy, he’s rich, and he’s sweet. What more could a girl want, right?”
“That doesn’t sound like a problem to me, Kendra,” I replied, maybe a little more bitterly than I had intended.
“Well, I’m just confused, that’s all. I mean he’s a vampire, right?”
“Yes, Leo is a vampire. And…?” Oh, c’mon, just shoot me now please!
She lowered her voice before continuing. “Well, I’ve never dated one before, but I thought vampires were supposed to be really sexual, right? And well, I’ve been trying to put the moves on him, but he’s been the perfect gentleman. The most action I’ve gotten from him is a goodnight kiss on the cheek! Is there something wrong with me?”
“Hold on,” I said. “Are you trying to tell me that you and Leo haven’t slept together?” Okay, now I was interested in this conversation.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” she replied. “I even went as far as offering my blood to him the other night, but he politely refused! God, I’m so embarrassed! Am I pathetic or what? I’m practically throwing myself at him! I don’t understand why he keeps asking me out when he’s so obviously not interested.”
“That is a good question,” I said. “One that I intend to find the answer to.”
She gave me a confused look. “Huh?”
I shook my head. “Um, nothing.” I lied. “Look Kendra, I wish I could help you but I can’t. Like I said, I really don’t know Leo very well. I think this is a conversation you should be having with him.”
“Oh, okay I understand,” she said with disappointment in her voice. “Well, thanks anyway for listening. The bar’s been pretty slow so I hope it picks up for you. You have a good night, Karli.”
“You too. Thanks.” Okay, I know this is selfish, but that conversation actually made my whole week! I’d been so bummed about everything lately. I really needed something good to happen and that was it. Now I needed to do a little self-reflection and figure out why I was so damn happy about it.
Leo came in shortly after my arrival and sat in his booth. He kept to himself like normal which was really driving me crazy! I wished I knew what was on his mind. I tried doing some inventory for an upcoming supplies order but I kept finding myself staring in his direction instead. He caught me every once in a while and smiled. I found myself doing it even more, wanting to get caught. Anything to see that sexy grin again.
A couple hours into my shift, Chad came in. He walked over to the bar and sat down right in front of me.
“Chad, would you like a drink?” I asked, totally irritated that he was blocking my view of Leo.
“Um, sure, I’ll have a beer, please. Thanks, Kar.” Okay, why was he being so polite? This was sooo not Chad.
“Any particular kind?” I asked. “We have quite a few.”
“No, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you think is best. I really didn’t come here for a drink, Karli. I came here to see you.” Oh Lord, I don’t think I want to see where this is going. I grabbed a pint of Hefeweizen from the tap and set it in front of him.
“Chad, I’m working. This really isn’t an appropriate place to start an argument, okay?”
“No, Karli, you don’t understand. I didn’t come here to be an ass. I came here to apologize for my behavior.”
“Huh?” It was the only word I could form. I didn’t think Chad had ever apologized for anything.
“Look, Karli, I know I’ve been a dick. Not just recently, but throughout our whole relationship. I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop thinking about you. I want you back, Karli.”
“Excuse me?” I asked. This had to be a joke. All right, where are the hidden cameras?
“I’m serious,” he said. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to become the kind of man you need me to be.”
“Chad, you shouldn’t have to change for anyone. You are who you are.” Is this the night for weird conversations, or what?
“But I want to change for you, Kar. I don’t want to be without you anymore. I’m miserable without you. I’ve slept with hundreds of women since we broke up trying to forget you but I can’t.”
Okay, that was disgusting. “Look, Chad. I appreciate the sentiment. Really, I do. But I’m just not looking for a relationship with anyone right now. I have a lot going on in my life that would get in the way of that.”
“Well, can we at least start fucking again? I mean, you still need to get off, right?” Okay, there’s the Chad I know.
“That’s sweet of you to offer, but I’ll pass,” I replied.
He grabbed a cocktail napkin and a pen from the bar. He wrote something on it before handing it to me. “Here’s my number. Call me anytime if you change your mind. I mean it, Kar. Anytime. I’ll drop whoever I’m doing and come over.” Ah, yes, he’s back in full effect now, ladies!
I took the napkin from him as he threw a twenty on the bar and left. I looked up and saw Leo staring at me. He looked perturbed at first but then he smiled, making my heart flutter a little bit. I tossed Chad’s number in the garbage.
Roxy came up to me afterwards and said, “What the hell did that asshole want? You okay, girl?”
“Ugh, can you believe he actually asked me to get back together with him?”
“Are you kidding me? Wow, he has a shit load of nerve. What a slimeball!”
“No kidding,” I agreed.
“Men!” she huffed. “Can’t live with ’em, can’t ride a cock without ’em, huh?”
After closing, everyone left but Leo, which was the norm these days. “Hey, Leo,” I called out from the bar. “Would you mind hanging out an extra hour or so? I need to place a supplies order and didn’t get a chance to finish my inventory.”
“Not at all,” he replied. “Just let me know when you’re ready.” I brought a scotch over to his table as a gesture of thanks. He placed his hand over mine as I was setting the glass down. His touch sent sparks of electricity through my skin as a wave of heat rushed to my core. “Karli, please sit.”
“Um, okay.” I sank into the booth trying to figure out where he was going with this.
“How’ve you been?” he asked.
“Fine, I guess.”
“You don’t seem fine,” he said. “I’m sensing sadness from you. I’ve been feeling it for weeks now. What’s going on with you?”
“That’s another vampire thing, right? The sensing stuff?”
Smiling, he said, “Yes, my love, it is a ‘vampire thing’.” Yay me! The pet names are back!
“What other psychic abilities do you have?” I asked. “Can you read minds?”
“I cannot read someone’s thoughts,” he said. “I can only sense their moods, and whether or not their emotions are directed towards me.”
“Like that morning in your penthouse. You said you could feel me projecting my anger towards you?”
“Exactly,” he replied.
“So what else can you do? I mean, as a vampire?”
“Didn’t you say something about inventory?” he smirked.
“This is more important,” I said, scooting closer. “So what other abilities do you have?”
Chuckling, he replied, “You know if anyone else were this intrusive, I might take offense. Instead, I find myself actually looking forward to this little interrogation of yours. Either I’m a masochist, or I really miss spending time with you.”
“Quit trying to dodge the question,” I said as I began picturing myself kissing him. Shameless, I know.
He was obviously picking up on my train of thought because he gave me a lascivious grin before replying. “Give me a moment to think about what I’ve left out since we last spoke about this…so far we’ve covered my maker, diet, sunlight, and now my ability to read emotions. That would leave my extraordinary strength, speed, and senses, and my ability to charm others.”
“What do you mean, ‘charm others’?” I asked.
“I believe you referred to it as a Jedi mind trick.”
“How exactly does that work? How did you make me feel calm like that?”
“It’s in the eye contact,” he replied. “I must establish eye contact with the person that I am trying to influence.”
“So can you make someone do something against their will?”
“Like my evil bidding?” he teased.
“No, that’s not what I was implying. I just meant can a vampire, in general, make someone compromise their values, or commit a crime?”
“A vampire can plant suggestions into someone’s mind, but they will not work if the person is morally against said action. For example, let’s say I suggested you rob a bank. Would you do it?”
“Of course not!”
“Well, then my influence would not work on you. If I made that same suggestion to a convicted bank robber, my influence would compel them to rob another one as soon as possible. Does that make sense?”
“I think so. What about the emotion part? How does that work? How did you make me feel so calm?”
“Are you opposed to feeling calm in my presence?” he asked.
“Well, no. That’s a stupid question.”
“There’s your answer then. If you would not feel an emotion towards me naturally, then you would not feel it with my influence. Here, let me try something. Look at me.”
Against my better judgment, I did as he said. I stared into those amazing bluish-gray pools and saw a tiny flash of sparkles in them. In the next moment, I felt a burning need to kiss him. Before I knew it, I was sitting right next to him, framing his face with my hands and pulling him into me. When our lips met, my desire grew to an impossible degree. Our tongues danced as my heart felt like it was drumming out of my chest. I pulled back for a moment to appreciate his beauty and saw that his fangs were slightly longer than before. Curious, I reached out and gingerly touched one with the tip of my finger. He responded by taking it into his mouth, momentarily turning my body into Jello.
I wanted more of him so I moved in closer, straddling his hips while resuming our kiss. I could feel his growing erection beneath me. I spread my thighs further apart so I could feel his tip nudging against me through my soaking wet panties. I pressed the lower half of my body into his, soliciting a growl from the back of his throat. His hands avariciously roamed my thighs until they settled on my ass, holding me firmly in place.
“Oh my God, you feel so good!” I exclaimed.
All these damn clothes were getting annoying so I untied my halter and started unbuttoning his shirt, desperately wanting to feel his skin against mine. When I got halfway down, he ripped the rest of the buttons away. He lifted my body and gently laid me on the table. It was soaked from the scotch we’d just knocked over but I couldn’t care less. I pulled his beautiful, bare chest into mine as I scratched my nails down his back. He left my lips to kiss a path down to the curve of my neck. I gasped when his fangs lightly scraped my skin.
“Leo, just do it!” I shouted. “Please just bite me before I change my mind!”
He pulled back and looked at me curiously. His gaze centered on my face, then to my neck, and back to my face again. His fangs retracted as he lifted me up and placed me back on the seat beside him, pulling my skirt back into place and retying my top.
“What the-----” I started to say.
“Wow, that was ah…a little more than I was expecting,” he said with a big grin.
“Uh, yeah, that’s some influence you’ve got there, Mister,” I replied, desperately trying to catch my breath.
With a low chuckle he said, “My dear, I hate to break this to you, but I released my hold on you the moment our lips touched. The rest was all you.” Say what?
“Oh, um…well, this is embarrassing. Sorry about that.” I hid my face with my hands. I couldn’t believe I just begged him to bite me! Fuck, I must have been losing my mind!
He grabbed my hands away from my face, forcing me to look up at him. “There’s nothing to be sorry about, my sweet. I quite enjoyed myself. I only stopped you because this is hardly the appropriate place for such actions. You deserve better than that. When we make love for the first time, we will have complete privacy and comfort. ” Did he just say when we…?
Blushing profusely, I said, “But what about Kendra? Aren’t you two an item or something?”
“Kendra is a nice girl, but my interests lie elsewhere. She was simply a futile attempt to distract me from what I really want.”
“And what is that?” I asked.