Nikoli had already worked out how to approach Little Red when she sauntered back to her seat, seemingly unaware of him. He had done this many times before, convincing women into being alone with him, that is. Privacy made it easier to feed. It used to surprise him how eager the women usually were to be in a more intimate setting with him, but he found it much easier for him to drink their blood if they were willing and cooperative to start. Compelling humans was so much easier when they had open minds.. Humans fascinated him to no end. They were such simple creatures, yet they had so many complex emotions running through them at any given time.
By studying modern humans, he had learned to appreciate them and tried to understand why they do the things that they do. It had been so long since he had been human himself, that he forgot how it felt to be human. Vampire’s predatory instincts and emotions were heightened, but most of their weaker emotions were numbed. Most, if not all, vampires were just the opposite of humans, with very simple and basic emotions. If they were angry they fought, hungry they fed and happy they celebrated. There were no confusing or mixed emotions to wade through. It was easier that way. Life was less complicated, mostly. Needless to say, he was very surprised to see her staring at him. He was even more shocked when she slid closer to him and smiled.
“Hey, I’m Leila.”
As he looked at her closer, his heart fluttered in his chest as if he knew her. He blinked several times struggling to understand what he was feeling. He couldn’t describe the emotion, but she seemed somehow familiar. The french called it Deja vu, but he had never experienced it beforehand. The lights bounced off her long, wavy hair, making the coloring of it change from pink, to blue, to purple, to green. At the light in the bar, her hair looked nearly brown, but he couldn’t be sure unless he saw her in natural or fluorescent lighting. He ran his fingers through his hair, finding himself wishing he could touch hers to see how soft it was.
“My name is Nikoli,” He replied hoarsely, battling internally on what to say for the first time in hundreds of years. Why was she tripping me up? Frustration was making his jaw clench.
“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Nikoli.” Said Leila, licking her lips and tucking her hair behind her ears.
The husky way she said his name made his heart flutter again, which made him feel slightly panicked if he was being totally honest. What is going on with my body? He felt as if he was losing control.
“Nice to meet you, too, Leila.”
He smiled at her and tried to read her thoughts, curiosity getting the better of him. It was one of his many vampiric talents, but all he got back was a buzzing sound. He shook his head, trying again, confusion furrowing his brow as his head started to pound with the effort. What is she? He wondered briefly. He’d always been able to read thoughts before. Why couldn’t he read this random human’s mind? She looked unsure of herself, by the way she sat there clutching her beer with one hand, the other one tugging at the hem of her dress. His gaze zoned in on the vein in her neck, watching the way it pulsed when her heart rate increased. Nikoli cocked his head the side, studying her body language. She appeared to be poised, confident, but the wide look in her eyes told a different story, as if she wanted to run for the hills. Quick, say something! He couldn’t understand why he was working so hard just for a meal.
“Leila, tell me, what do you for a living? What do you do for fun when you’re not out with friends?”
“I...am an Assistant for a magazine called Curvy Girl.”
“Was that what you always wanted to do?”
She smiled sadly at him and her eyes seemed to glitter in the flashing lights. He could get lost in those eyes, he thought. They were an endless sea of green, as far as he could tell in the lighting at counter of the bar. She traced the edge of the shot glass with her fingertip momentarily, noting how smooth the glass was beneath her finger before answering.
“No, uh. Someday I want to own a magazine. I would settle for being an Editor though, to be honest.”
He shook his head at her and narrowed his eyes at her.
“Never settle, Leila. You should never settle.” Nikoli cleared his throat, his need for blood beginning to overtake his senses, threatening to take over and suck someone dry.
She smiled with a little more warmth, her teeth showing out from under her pouty, red lips and nodded. There must have been something in his voice or maybe in the way he was looking at her that convinced her not to bolt from him. Whatever it was, he was glad. There was a certain ‘je ne sais quois’ about her that he wasn’t ready to let go of just yet. He wasn’t used to being pursued rather than the one pursuing. She was different, not in the least bit demanding. Her presence comforted him, which was new for him. He used to have a wall up around humans until very recently.
“Why aren’t you dancing?” He asked lamely. She didn’t seem the least bit upset or bothered by him. In fact, she looked as curious about him as he was about her.
She shrugged and gave him a small, uncertain smile, “Uh...I haven’t been asked, but I’m pretty used to it by now.”
“What might that be?” he asked, his eyebrows quirking up, not sure what she meant by that.
“Oh you know....rejection,” she said meekly while looking down at the table, “It’s a rather common occurrence for me unfortunately.”
She traced something on the table with her index finger. She looked up at him after a few minutes and the sadness in those big green eyes took his breath away. All he could think of doing was kissing her, which immediately struck him as odd because she was a stranger, not to mention a human. Instead he held back and replied with a gentle voice, wanting to touch her hand, but not wanting to scare her off.
“I find that hard to believe, Leila.” He liked the way her name rolled off his tongue so smoothly. He found himself once more salivating at the thought of tasting her blood, she smelled so heavenly that he didn’t know how much longer he could control himself before he broke.
“Well, you’re talking to me now. Why didn’t you approach me first? I saw you looking at me earlier...”
He was taken aback by her response, scoffing slightly.
“Well, that does not mean that I was not rejecting you,” he said earnestly, “I was trying to figure out what to say. Usually, no offense, women do most of the talking.”
“That is true.” She said with a flippant laugh, causing him to grin back in return.
Nikoli noticed that her freckles seemed to dance across her pert nose when she laughed. They were so transparent that they were barely noticeable. She’s so beautiful…Her laughter stirred something in him, something long ago buried far into the recesses of his soul. He started to feel warm, tingly even as he got closer to her in proximity. The nearness of her, made his heart quiver and his stomach gurgle, although, he was not longer certain that it was just simply because he was hungry. He needed to be closer to her, even though he couldn’t seem to understand why. When he reached out to touch her hand and he pulled it back quickly as something jolted him, an unexplainable energy that surged up his arm. It felt like he had been shocked by electricity, but how?