He guided me upstairs and I collapsed on the couch as soon as we walked in the door.
“Do you want anything to eat?” he asked as he threw a small blanket over me.
I lifted my head slightly. “Yes, but I’m too tired to look at the menu and I don’t think I have the strength to feed myself anyway.”
“What do you feel like?”
“Anything,” I replied.
He called room service and ordered grilled chicken penne, an artisan cheese plate, and some red wine. After the server left, he carried the pasta over to me and sat on the floor in front of the couch. With the plate in his lap, he held up the fork so I could take a bite. He continued feeding me like that until everything was gone. Apparently, scary Leo had decided to retire for the evening. I managed to sit up on the couch so he came over to join me. I leaned against his shoulder as he offered me a sip of wine.
“Thank you for helping me, Leo. Again.”
He put his arm around my shoulders and held me. “Do you feel like taking a bath?” he asked.
“That sounds great but I really don’t have the strength for it.”
“I will take care of everything for you,” he offered. Being naked in a tub around Leo probably wasn’t the smartest idea. Being around him at all wasn’t the smartest idea. Seemingly sensing my hesitation, he added, “I promise I’ll be on my best behavior. I can add bubbles and step out while you get in the tub.” Remembering how wonderful his tub felt, I reluctantly agreed.
He got the bath ready for me, complete with bubbles and candles and led me into the bathroom.
“Will you be okay getting undressed?” he asked.
Probably not. “Yes.”
Leo stepped out of the bathroom while I struggled to undress. I climbed into the tub and sank back to absorb the luxury it provided. “You can come back in,” I called.
He walked back into the room and his fangs lengthened at seeing me in the tub. He composed himself quickly though, as he started removing his shirt and watch. When I looked at him quizzically he explained, “I don’t want them to get wet.”
I was too tired to even appreciate the sight of this beautiful, shirtless man taking care of me. He grabbed a washcloth and came over to sit on the edge of the tub. I felt too exposed so I held my knees into my chest. He dipped the cloth into the water before wringing some down over my head and back. He massaged my back while I softly moaned in pleasure. My body was melting into his capable hands. He grabbed some shampoo and started lathering my hair, massaging my scalp like an expert. He turned on the spray head to rinse. “Does this feel okay?” he asked as he delicately washed the suds away.
“Mmmm. Yes, definitely.” Way better than okay.
I leaned my head back, resting it on the edge of the tub. I tried focusing on reading his emotions. I could sense his desire, but his concern for me was much stronger. Wow, I couldn’t believe how easy that was!
He placed his hand on my cheek as I leaned into him. I had to resist the urge to kiss his palm. “You’re so beautiful, my love,” he whispered. “Do you have any idea what you do to me? I could look at your face for an eternity.”
“Shh,” he said. “I’m not looking for a response. I just needed to tell you that.”
Closing my eyes, I relaxed back into the tub. He caressed my face and neck, spending extra time tracing his fingers over the large artery that exposed my rapid pulse. I could sense his desire building and it was having a similar effect on me. I had to get out of this tub before I acted on our mutual feelings.
“Yes, my dear?”
“I’m ready to get out,” I said, trying to sound sure of myself.
He hesitated, probably because he sensed my feelings too, but then he grabbed a towel and robe, and placed them next to the tub. “I’ll be in the other room if you need me,” he said over his shoulder with a wistful expression.
As soon as he closed the door, I dried off and pulled the robe over my shoulders, tying the belt securely. I walked into the bedroom and found Leo sitting on the edge of the bed, looking lost in his thoughts. He stood up and guided me over to the bed, pulling the covers down and helping me in. When I was settled, he scooted in behind me. He began combing through my wet hair while I sighed in contentment; my lids were becoming very heavy. Before I succumbed to sleep I whispered, “Leo?”
“Anything for you, my dear.” I felt him kiss the back of my neck before I drifted off to dreamland.
I woke up the next morning feeling better than I had in days, with a renewed energy and a voracious appetite. I was a little disappointed to find that Leo was not in bed. I went to the bathroom and splashed some water on my face. I stepped out into the living room and found him sitting at the table with a buffet full of food waiting for me.
Nodding towards the food he said, “I saw you stirring so I took the liberty of ordering something. I wasn’t sure what you’d want so I got a variety.”
“Thank you.” I smiled and sat down at the table, taking a bite of an omelet.
“How are you feeling?” he asked.
“Surprisingly, pretty good,” I said. “I’m really hungry again, but not tired.”
“Uh oh, should I hide the extra chairs?”
I took a bite of some pancakes. “So, I have some more questions for you.”
“Why do I feel like a Professor of Vampire 101 whenever you’re around?” he teased.
“Wow, you’re being a smarty pants this morning, aren’t you?”
“I’m serious. Do you mind answering more questions?” I asked.
“You should never have to ask that, my pet.”
“Can you father children?”
“Why? Are you looking to make babies?”
“Leo,” I scolded.
He laughed. “Not in the traditional sense. When a vampire becomes a Sire, they sometimes refer to the fledgling as their child.”
“Have you ever sired another?” I took another bite of my eggs.
“Yes,” he replied.
“How many?” Did I really want to know the answer?
“I have sired dozens of vampires throughout my existence, but never against their will.”
“Were they your lovers, like your maker was?”
“Yes,” he smiled.
“When was the last time you did it?” I asked.
“Yes,” I replied, finding myself awfully curious about the answer.
“Close to thirty years ago.”
“Oh,” I said.
“Does that make you uncomfortable?” he asked.
“No, of course not,” I replied. “I mean, I don’t enjoy thinking about all the women out there who know you as intimately as possible, but it is what it is. I was actually surprised because I was expecting you to say something more recent. Why did you stop?”
“I wouldn’t say I’ve stopped per se.” He paused. “I just haven’t felt the desire to do it since the last time.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“I used to turn anyone who asked because I enjoyed giving the gift of immortality.” He looked away from me as he said, “I learned the hard way that I must be more selective with my generosity. The last woman I converted brought a lot of pain to others.”
“What do you mean?”
“Perhaps that is a story for another time. To be quite frank, my darling, it is not something I enjoy discussing. I’d much rather focus on more pleasant subjects. What other questions do you have?”
“How does one become a vampire?” Okay, I had some idea from Vance’s story, but I wanted a first-hand account.
“To change someone into a vampire,” he said, “the body must be drained nearly dry, and the heart must be slowed to nearly stopping. Once the human’s body is to the point of near death, they must drink their Sire’s blood. It only takes a small amount to initiate the change.”
“Then, they go into a deep sleep while their body reinvents itself. When they wake, they find themselves equipped with fangs and all of their vampire abilities.”
“What about the fangs?” I asked.
“What about them?” he countered.
“I know that they extend when you’re about to…um, feed. But are they also affected by your mood?” Okay, I already knew the answer but for some reason, I wanted to hear him say it.
“Well,” he began. “I have a feeling you already know the answer to that but I’ll play.” Crap! Can’t I get away with anything around this guy? “A vampire’s fangs lengthen not only to feed, but also when they are angry, or…aroused.” He smiled at me to prove his point. Yep, there they were. And I knew he was definitely not angry with me right then.
Feeling embarrassed, I said, “Okay, I think we’re done with the questions for now!” I got up quickly and started walking towards the bedroom. He moved so fast, I didn’t have a chance to react until he was already framing my face with his hands. “Whoa, um, what’s---”
“I’ve been dying to do this since last night.” He dipped his head to place a searing kiss on my lips, making my body temperature rise. Gasping, I softened my body towards his, letting him pull me into his embrace. He parted my lips with his tongue, tasting me and drinking me in. Just as the tension was building to a delightful level, he pulled back and smiled down at me, leaving me breathless and wanting. “Now you can go hide from me, my sweet.”
Stunned, I said, “What? I wasn’t trying to hide. I was just…um…going to go get dressed so I can get home. I have some stuff that I need to…ah, do.”
“You keep telling yourself that, my dear. Maybe then, one of us will believe it.” He shook his head in amusement and stepped aside. “Please, take as much time as you’d like. I need to head downstairs to go over the receipts from last night. I trust you can let yourself out?”
“Uh, yep. I’ll be fine.”
“Goodbye, my love,” he said as he kissed my forehead and walked away. Holy Christ, that was a kiss!