Eddie watched from across the street as he spoke with a leggy blonde in a miniskirt that was smiling at him. Slut, she thought unkindly, then smiled in sympathy. The oh-so-sexy Vincent did not respond to flirting, this Eddie knew for a fact. God knew she tried.
Her thoughts went back to the day she met him. Her company welcomed him, hell the whole town did. He was going to save the textile mill that was the heart and soul, the very lifeblood of their small town. Eddie worked there as the old bosses’ assistant, and really hoped to continue within that capacity. She could hope that the gossips would not yet be bending the ear of the much-younger-than-anticipated rich playboy who was about to become the sole owner. Of course rich playboy was her impression. With his dark good looks it sure seemed he would be that type.
He hadn’t. He had been respectful and seemed to admire and appreciate the way she handled her job with practised efficiency. Then came the day that he asked her to lunch with a former client of the factory.
“Oh, God, I hoped at the very least you would have gotten rid of the lunatic. I’m not sure how we feel having our contracts presided over buy a member of the short-bus guild.”
Nancy Mitchell had never like Eddie. But the nasty words were more than just nasty words, those Eddie had been handling for years. It was that Nancy was now going to out her to her very perfect boss that had her fleeing the restaurant.
The tap at her apartment door had come two hours later. Eddie had cried out her humiliation, screamed into pillows and had totally butchered her hair in a fit of rage. Why try to look normal when everyone knew and treated you like the freak you were? He was there, of course. It’s not like anyone else would visit her. “This time I’m really going to leave,” she promised herself. “When he fires me I am going to get out of this piss-ant town and go to a city and…” But even her thoughts froze. She could never leave town. It was the only place she knew was safe. A place where they did not exist.
“I’m sorry Mr. Giannini.”
“Vincent,” he corrected her, as he had every time she tried to be more formal.
“I should have told you. I just…”
“May I come in?” She nodded. “Tea would be lovely,” he reminded her of her manners, and she went to put the kettle on. When she came in the living room he was sitting on her sofa, and her cat was circling him with hackles raised, growling in her throat.
“I am sorry. Mr. Winkles!”
Despite the discomfort, awkwardness of the situation he gave a sudden deep chuckle. “Oh, my, no, you did not. You did not really call that hissing hound from hell Mr. Winkles.” She blushed, which made him laugh all the harder. “And now I think they may be right, because that is the only spark of insanity I’ve ever seen from you, Edwina.” She flopped down on the big chair and started sobbing. “I’m sorry, that was a poor joke.”
“Are you going to fire me?”
“Now I am sure you are at least a little crazy,” that gave him at least a little smile. “I am not going to fire the genius assistant that makes my life sane, even if she is bat-shit crazy, which you are not.” He handed her a handkerchief. “Dry your tears. Do you want to tell me about it?”
Well of course she hadn’t, but Vincent had this charm that just made you want what he wanted. So she told him about the one and only time Edwina Wilson had ever left the shelter of Jasper, Nebraska. Her twin sister, Erika, had won a writing contest on why she was proud to be an American. An insipid piece of patriotic fluff, as Eddie had called it, and her sister called her a jealous cow. They stayed in a big hotel in Washington D.C. Where her sister and a dozen or so others were going to read their essays on stage, with television coverage and everything. Erika had been insufferable. She demanded they go up to the room, while he mother suffered the “headache” she always got whenever her daughters fought, which pretty much made it her constant companion. She pestered her mother to let her go down and swim in the heated pool in the lobby. Her mother waved her away with a promise to not go anywhere else and come straight back to the room.
The pool had been wonderful, and a boy had flirted with her, and ever asked her for coffee afterwards. There was no way she could, but he offered to walk her back to her room the long way around. She had giggled and felt quite confident in the face of the boys obvious adoration. Or her sister was going to hate that Eddie had met a boy. She spotted her mother across the balcony, from the other side of the hotel. A man had her, he was. Oh God, she screamed, and pointed and screamed. More than half a dozen people saw the shadowy figure as her mother had dropped with blood pouring from her slashed throat.
“Oh, my God, Edwina, how terrifying. No wonder you needed therapy and time away…”
“I saw him, Vincent. He was no ordinary man. He was a Vampire. I saw before everyone else looked. I saw him drink.” Vincent cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Oh, go ahead. Tell me I am nuts. Everyone else does. But I know what I saw. I know they exist.”
“I do not think you are crazy. Vampires have been part of our myths since the beginning of time. There are a great many things this world cannot explain. I would never be so quick to dismiss something like that. Even if seen through the eyes of a traumatized child.” They way he said that, without the sneering or patoronizing made her, for the first time, question what she saw. Perhaps the doctors had been right and it had been her way to demonize the man who murdered her mother and most certainly her sister.
She shook her head. “No, I know what I saw. I know they exist. And one day I will make sure they all die the most painful death possible. Every. Last. One.”
“Wow, and they say vampires are blood thirsty. You are a little warrior, Edwina.”
Suddenly Edwina came back to the present. The people continued to move, Vincent was long gone, as was the blonde. How long had she been day dreaming? She gave a shrug and cut through the forest to get back to her house.
Eddie stood watching in awe as the woman’s arms opened to accept the almost tender embrace of Vincent. His hypnotic spell had her transfixed. But the kiss that followed washed any tenderness out of the scene. It was ravenous, devouring and carnal. Vincent tore at the woman’s shirt, and Eddie felt the jealousy eat her up. Vincent, who treated her like a lady. Who showed her respect, and defended her against her home town’s prejudice, was showing her a whole other side. A side that had her longing for him. Gone was the gentleman. Gone was the cultured wealthy foreigner. In his place was a hedonistic male that called to the woman inside her.
She could not stop watching. Not when she so wanted to be the woman. When Vincent hiked the woman up against the tree Eddie nearly moaned and she felt the wetness between her thighs. She wanted to wrap her legs around him and have her hooked feet sliding against his bare ass as he thrust over and over. She envied the woman her cries of pleasure. Then it happened. Eddie willed herself to wake up as her fantasy became a nightmare. Suddenly Vincent had huge fangs as they sunk into the woman.
Eddie managed to stop the scream as the woman writhed, not in agony, as she would expect, but ecstasy. His fangs causing ripple after ripple as orgasm as he drew from her. Suddenly it seemed that Vincent was aware that not all the whimpers were coming from his less than distraught victim, who stared at him with a stupefied grin on her face.
“Oh, God, Edwina.” She was sure he could see the shock and horror on her face. His “victim” was putting clothes on and humming out of tune. “It’s not what it looks like.”
“You’re a vampire,” Eddie whispered in horror. “How could I have not seen it?”
“Please, Edwina. I’m your friend.”
“You are a fucking vampire, Vincent. I protected you. I lied for you. And you know how I felt about vampires. You should have kept your distance.”
“I’m not like those others. You know me. You know I would not hurt anyone.”
“What about her?” Edwina pointed to the woman who was walking, no skipping through the path.
“Does she really look hurt to you? If all had gone according to plan she would have no memory other than a pleasant conversation with her. She would feel that sense of elation I gave her for days, even weeks. She would not even have a mark on her.”
Eddie gave rise to the if. Had her voyeurism had doomed not just her, but the other woman to death? “If all had gone according to plan…”
Vincent smiled, his teeth almost fully retracted. “Relax, at most she will remember an erotic dream about me. Maybe even that we fucked, but I doubt it will be even that much.” Eddie was slightly shocked to hear that word from his mouth, and it suddenly brought back the sexual feelings she had before she discovered his secret and motivation behind the clandestine passionate encounter. He had to feed. “She is not going to remember enough to harm me. And her marks are so faded it will look like little more than a couple of hickey’s.”
“Unfortunately my power to wipe memories only starts when my spell does. There is nothing I can do to erase your memory.” Eddie swallowed harshly. “So I will have to trust you not to reveal my secret.”
“Why would you do that? Trust me? You know how I feel about vampires.” Oh for crying out loud shut up,Eddie. But no, she had never been good at keeping her mouth shut. “Why would I keep your secret?”
“Oh, my sweet, bloodthirsty, Edwina.” Vincent sighed, like he was hating to point out what inside must have him giggling like a school girl. “You know what would happen. You don’t want to go back to the mental hospital do you? You know no one will believe you. Everyone will think you lost the plot again. This time they would lock you away again, maybe forever.”
“I hate you.”
“Oh, no, Edwina. I’ve always liked you. But right now, you and I, we are about to become very close. In fact we are going to be the very best of friends. ‘Til death do us part. Well, yours anyway. I’m immortal.”