Melanie Nowak

Author of the Venomous Vampire series

ALMOST HUMAN

 

 

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ALMOST HUMAN 

~ The First Triogy ~

Volume 3

Evolving Ecstasy

by

Melanie Nowak

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the authors imagination, or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living, dead or undead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

All rights reserved.

Copyright 2004 by Melanie Nowak

Cover Photograph by Melanie Nowak

WoodWitchDame Publications

 

 

This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part,

by any means without express permission directly from the author.  

eBook Edition 2.0, 2010

 

 

For information address:

WoodWitchDame Publications

WoodWitchDame@aol.com

 

EVOLVING ECSTASY

ISBN-13: 978-0-9824102-7-1  

 

Almost Human ~ The First Trilogy

Volume 3 – Evolving Ecstasy

Contents

 

1. You’d better

2. And a large chocolate shake

3. Loyalties

4. Honesty

5. Top of the food chain

6. Connections

7. Fears, tears and fire alarms

8. Fresh air and sunshine

9. An offer I can’t refuse

10. Until we meet again

11. You just don’t understand

12. Almost human

13. Take a break and have a life

14. Have faith

15. Things change

Epilogue

 

 

Chapter 1 – You’d better

Felicity

Felicity’s car

Friday, midnight

Felicity felt as though she were on autopilot driving back to Cain’s. Cain was sitting silently beside her. It had been a long night. After sending home their last ‘customer’, Felicity had quietly questioned Ben. “What are we going to tell Mr. Penten?”

Ben had surveyed the remains of the vampire attack on the store and shrugged. “We were robbed… by a gang… they were probably on drugs.”

“There’s no money missing,” Felicity had pointed out.

Ben smiled. “That’s ‘cause I fought them off.”

That’s when Alyson had started laughing again. “You did? You and Felicity, that’s your story?”

“It could happen. Anyway, I guess you could have been here, but something tells me that he won’t want to be involved in questioning,” He’d said with a gesture towards Cain. Sindy had already slipped out the door.

Cain answered. “I can have been here if you’d like. I’ve got valid I.D., and you must admit, it would make your story a bit more credible,” he’d added with a smirk.

Ben probably hadn’t liked the insinuation that no one would believe that he could have done it alone, with only the help of two girls, but he kept quiet. Felicity had then brought up another problem. “So where do we say all of the ashes came from?”

After a thoughtful moment, Ben had asked, “Got a blow dryer?”

And so, Cain and Felicity had gone back to her room for her hair dryer. Upon leaving the store they had been very surprised to find Sindy, sitting out front on the curb. To Felicity, she had looked very frightened and alone. Sitting on the edge of the parking lot, hugging her knees and looking out into the dark. It had been very odd to see Sindy that way. She got up immediately at their approach, trying to put on a brave face it had appeared. Felicity tried to picture how it would feel to have to walk out into that darkness alone, and actually felt sort of bad for her. “You need a ride somewhere?”

Both Sindy and Cain had looked very amazed that she would ask, but of course Sindy hadn’t accepted. “Na, I’m good.” She’d quickly walked away and Cain hadn’t said anything about it.

They’d gotten into the car and then Felicity had turned to Cain. “You have I.D., like a driver’s license?”

“Mm-hmmm.”

She’d just stared at him for a moment. “I can’t really picture you standing in line at the D.M.V.” He’d laughed and pulled his license out of his back pocket for her to inspect. She’d held it up in the light from the parking lot lamps. “Who is that?”

He’d laughed again. “It’s supposed to be me. I paid someone to go get their picture taken for me. Tell me that there’s some resemblance,” he’d added hopefully.

She had studied his face and the picture in turns. “I guess. He does look a lot like you. But you’re definitely the better looking of the two.”

“Thanks.” He’d given her a smile and a kiss, and then she looked at the card a moment longer. It was issued in New York, but listed his address as being in a town that she didn’t know. The name read: Cain Herald VI, Sex: M, Eyes: Bl, Ht: 5’ 11”. He must have seen her looking a bit confused. “Something wrong?”

She’d looked up at him tentatively. “It says ‘Cain’.”

His eyes had turned downcast as he answered quietly, “Christian Herald has been dead for about two hundred and ninety years.” She must have still looked confused. “Did you expect me to list my date of birth as December 25th, 1664 as well? It’s not always easy, trying to live in the ‘civilized’ world but I’ve managed. In order to keep possession of the Manor and keep my bank accounts in order, I do have to die now and again, on paper that is.”

“What’s the VI?” 

“That’s the roman numeral for six. I am actually considered to be my own great, great, great, great grandson. It gets a bit confusing I know. I’ve figured out how to keep things going pretty smoothly now though.

Every fifty years or so, I have a fictional girlfriend ‘give birth’ to a new persona, my son and namesake, to whom I am given sole custody of course. I give him about twenty years to mature and then I die and he takes over. It’s just a bunch of paperwork really. But you’d be amazed what you can accomplish by giving the right amount of money to the right people. There’s probably an easier way to go about it, but I prefer to keep things as legal as possible. I don’t like to feel as though I’m hiding anything.”

She’d glanced at it once more and then handed it back for him to put it away. It also read ‘DOB: 12 – 25 – 64’. “According to that you’re forty-one.”

He’d grinned. “I know. I look pretty good for my age don’t I? It’ll be time for a new one soon. I start at twenty-one and usually let it go until fifty or so. Much past that and I start drawing odd looks. Of course, I try not to use it unless I have to. It serves.”

Just then Allie had startled them by rapping on the window. Cain had rolled it down for her. “You two haven’t even left yet? Let’s get this over with and then you can get a room.” Cain had just shaken his head with a smile as Felicity started the car and Allie went to get into her own.

They had returned with a blow-dryer, to find that Allie had gotten hers as well. They did their best to blow all of the ashes out the broken window and door, while Ben used the attachments on the vacuum cleaner to try and clean up behind the counter. They didn’t want it to look ‘too’ cleaned up before they reported the incident, but at least the ashes were scattered around sufficiently, so as not to be noticeable. Then Ben had called the police and Mr. Penten, trying to sound out of breath and distraught.

They spent a good deal of time answering questions and standing around waiting to be allowed to leave. They had all agreed ahead of time as to the exact events of the evening, so that there had been no discrepancies when reporting to the authorities.

Since there was no money missing and only the windows were broken, they weren’t very closely questioned anyway. Mr. Penten was none too pleased about having to close for repairs on a Saturday morning, but at least insurance would cover the windows.

They had finally been allowed to go their separate ways. Allie and Ben each left in their cars, as Cain and Felicity got into hers. She had been about to automatically drive to Cain’s house, when he’d turned to her. “You’ll probably want to go home, to shower and change. I can walk if it’s easier.”

Felicity had been behaving normally, cleaning up, answering questions; to everyone else she must have seemed fine. But she felt as though she were in shock, doing things because she had too, but not really thinking about anything but what had happened and what it might mean for the future. Now that it was finally quiet, all she really wanted was to crawl into Cain’s bed and be safe in his arms.

Once he’d mentioned it though, she’d realized that a shower would be a very welcome thing. She’d had little bits of slimy mud, and God knows what else smeared on her from her struggling with the last zombie. She had washed her arms in the sink at the DownTime before the police had arrived, but she’d still felt grossly soiled. She had turned to Cain slowly and asked, “Would you come with me... and wait? I wanna go to your house, after.”

He’d looked a little concerned, as though just realizing that she might be upset. He’d given her a little smile and said, “Of course luv, whatever you’d like.”

She had driven back to her dorm and left Cain in the car while she went in. She had wanted to have him follow, but Maggie had been standing in the doorway, talking with someone. Felicity didn’t feel like being questioned, as to Cain’s presence.

She’d gone to her room and gathered her things for a shower. She’d come back to her room after, and found Cain sitting on her bed. He’d gestured to her open window. “I hope you don’t mind. Didn’t want people to think I was sitting out there casing the place.”

She’d just smiled, giving her head a little shake. Cain had busied himself looking through her school books, as she’d changed into her sheep pajamas and thrown clothes for tomorrow into a bag. She’d then slipped on some socks and sneakers, put on a sweatshirt over her pajamas, and went to give him a kiss. As much as she wanted to just melt into his arms, she gave him only a quick peck on the lips. She didn’t want to be here, Cain’s felt safer. “See you at the car.”

She’d planned to say she was going home for the weekend if asked, but Maggie was gone. Cain was already in the car when she got there. So now they were driving back to his house. All was quiet, and she was glad. She couldn’t talk anymore right now. She just stared at the road and wanted to be there already.

They entered the house and went straight downstairs. She dropped her bag and unzipped her sweatshirt, dropping it to the floor, while eyeing his bed. Cain looked at her thoughtfully. “Tired?” She just nodded her head, took off her shoes and socks, and went to get in the bed. He took off his boots and followed her. He was gazing at her curiously as she got beneath the covers. “Are you all right?”

She nodded again, but she could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. Cain must have seen them, because he instantly came to her and wrapped her in his arms. “Oh Felicity, it’s all right. It’s all right now, you’re safe.” She drew a deep breath and tried not to cry. He must think she was so weak. She didn’t know what to say, until he spoke again. “It’s all right, it’s over now.”

She looked up at him, through watery eyes. “No it’s not. You heard her. Chris wants me. He wants to kill me... or worse.”

He seemed a little shaken by the ‘worse’, but still tried to comfort her. “You know that I will never let you fall into his hands. Don’t be afraid, you’re safe now.”

“But there were so many of them, grabbing at me...”

He looked almost surprised at her. “You’ve fought far worse. You killed Luke, and that vampire in the cemetery. These tonight were nothing compared to them.”

“But they were so, rotten... and awful.”

“They may have seemed the stuff of nightmares, but you’ve seen them before. They are stupid, slow and easily defeated.”

“Yeah, for you. I’ve seen you fight. You’re so good at it.”

“Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of practice.”

“Ben killed like four of them! Allie killed one. Even Sindy, did you see her? She was like, ripping them apart.”

“She killed two or three,” he said with a little shrug.

“I didn’t kill any. All I did was hide behind my vial and scream.”

Cain leaned back to smile at her. “You are a gentle soul, who shouldn’t be expected to engage in such pursuits. But you have a strong spirit, and have done remarkably well in these situations. You shouldn’t reproach yourself for not fighting like the others. Ben seems to have ‘hating vampires’ in his blood, that fuels his efforts. Alyson does usually fight well, but she’s had formal training, and still you’ve done just as well as her in the past. Sindy... Well, against mindless zombies, she hasn’t much to fear. They can scratch and bite at her all they like, but without a stake and the presence of mind to use it properly...” He shook his head. “They can’t really hurt her.”

“I guess knowing that, would give a person confidence. They all have something to make them feel confident and strong. I don’t have anything.”

Cain tipped her chin to make her look at him. “You’ve got me.” She tried to smile, but the phrase ‘screaming horror flick chick’ kept haunting her. She tucked her head back down into his chest for a hug. She loved the fact that Cain made her feel safe. But still, she didn’t want to have to run to him, every time that danger threatened.

There was a simple solution. Go home. Go back home where danger wouldn’t follow, just remove it from her life. It sounded so easy, but she wouldn’t do it. If she left, she knew that she would never see Cain again. He was going to take care of all of this and then leave. Somehow she just knew it. Felicity was unwilling to let him go, not yet.

Holding the vial out in front of her, to ward off that zombie, had seemed so flimsy and stupid. She wished she’d had the confidence to fight them like Sindy. Sindy seemed to be unafraid of anything. Well, she was frightened of Chris and Marcus, but who could blame her for that? Chris may not be all that intelligent, but he was smart enough to kill her for real and to get Marcus to help him do it. But Sindy sure wasn’t scared of much else. What must it be like, to have the assurance of immortality to fall back on?

Something else came to mind, a solution that she had been very carefully avoiding. She could let Cain mark her again. It wouldn’t guarantee anything; Chris may still be able to work around it. But she was pretty sure that it would protect her from any lesser vampires he might make. They were driven by instinct. They should have an overwhelming desire to stay away from her, if she were marked.

In fact, she suddenly realized that Ben had that advantage. No wonder he had managed to kill an impressive three zombies and one real vampire, without getting hurt. They were unable to bite him!

Still, she kept the experience of being marked by Cain, safely hidden away from her conscious mind. It was not something she had ever thought to consider again. It was so much easier to think of Cain as a man, and not someone capable of such strange things. He was just holding her quietly, trying to make her feel safe. She looked up at him again, trying to ‘see’ the vampire in him. It just wasn’t there for her to see, not now. He smiled at her. “You needn’t worry about Chris. I won’t let him get to you.”

“I know, but he had so many others.”

“Whom we killed.”

“He can make more.”

Cain looked thoughtful. “I suppose it’s possible that he kept a few in reserve, but I doubt it. As for making more, we won’t give him the time. Creations such as his, take time to reawaken. Unless he uses a considerable amount of care in making more, they will take a week or two to come back. In fact, judging by the condition of some of them, I’d say he made them more than a month ago.”

“Yeah, I guess. But he still has Marcus. Cain, no offense but I don’t even think that you could take him.”

Cain gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Don’t you worry about it. For you, I’d fight Satan himself. Now get some rest. I’m going to go and take a shower of my own.” He hugged her close for another minute and then got up from the bed. At least she felt safe here. She lay there, feeling very comforted just lying snuggled warm in his bed and watching him move about the room.

She admired his body as he undressed. She had to smile remembering that earlier, in her room, he had purposely not watched her as she disrobed to dress into her pajamas. He was such a gentleman. She had been glad at the time. He had seen her body often enough in the past week that she shouldn’t be self conscious... but she still was a little. Now she noted that he didn’t even seem to notice or care if she watched him. Everyone she knew seemed so much more confident than she was, in every way. He shut all the lights, save those behind the bar and disappeared into the bathroom. As she listened to the water begin to run in the shower, she drifted off to sleep.

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Beep-beep-beep. Felicity awoke, thinking that her alarm clock sounded very odd. That’s because it was the microwave. Oh yeah, she was at Cain’s. She didn’t feel as though she could have slept long. It must still be the middle of the night. She opened her eyes and found Cain in the dim light, coming out of the laundry room to go behind the bar. He’d already showered and his hair was mostly dry. He was dressed in a pair of blue pajama pants, nothing else.

He didn’t seem to notice that she was awake. Her eyes lingered on his broad, muscular shoulders as he took his cup out of the microwave and turned to lean on the bar. He was reading the newspaper. She lay there, for what seemed like very long time, just watching him drink from his mug and read. Even in that unassuming pose he seemed so strong and unshakable. Handsome and robust, her protector. And yet, he seemed so incredibly normal. Like any guy in his pajamas, reading the paper and drinking his morning coffee... Only it wasn’t coffee.

She knew that there must be blood in the cup. That seemed so strange to her. She realized that he never drank in front of her. He must purposely drink when she was not around. She wondered how much of it he actually had to drink. Where did he get it all from? How could he actually drink that? She could not imagine voluntarily drinking blood; it seemed so nauseating. It was true that his body had been changed to need it, but still. What did it taste like? He didn’t actually like it, did he? Did it taste good to him now?

He finished what was in the cup, stood there for a moment finishing the page he was reading, and then put down the mug. Felicity closed her eyes. She wasn’t sure why, but she knew he was going to look up at her, and she didn’t want him to know that she was awake yet. She liked lying there cozy and sleepy, just watching him.

After a moment, she heard him moving around behind the bar again. She opened her eyes to see him take something from the refrigerator. It looked like a Ziploc bag… of blood. He began to pour it carefully into his mug. She leaned up a little on her elbow to see better. She just couldn’t believe that he had blood in a bag like that, in the refrigerator. Surely it seemed perfectly normal to him, but it was just so odd.

He saw the movement and looked up to see her awake. He seemed a bit startled, and she was very glad that she hadn’t made him spill it. He carefully finished pouring and then closed the bag. She was still openly watching him with morbid fascination.

He just stood there for a moment, looking back at her. She sat up better on the bed. Finally, she had to ask. “Where do you get that?”

He furrowed his brow and seemed to think that she would already know. “The butcher.”

Felicity sighed with realization and relief. “Oh, it’s cows’ blood.”

Again, Cain seemed a bit confused at her response. “What did you think, that I robbed the red cross?” he asked with a little laugh. He turned and put the cup into the microwave, setting it for a minute. “Actually this is pigs’ blood, but sometimes it’s cow.”

Felicity was looking at him very strangely. “You can tell the difference?”

Cain gave her an odd little smile. He seemed amused that they should be having this conversation. “You’d be amazed.” She just stared at him for a moment until the microwave beeped. Cain removed his cup, swirled it around a little, turned to face her and took a small sip. It almost seemed to Felicity, that he did it very intentionally, for her to watch. As though it were high time she faced the truth; that he was not human, no matter how well he could pretend to be.

She watched him as he drank some more. “I guess it’s a lot different from..,” she forced herself to say it, “human blood.”

Cain gave her a weary little smile. “Water and wine my dear. Water. And. Wine.”

So weird. How could the same thing taste so different, just because it came from a different source? “So do different people taste different too?” Felicity suddenly shook her head, becoming disgusted with herself. “Ech, why am I even asking you this? This is so morbid.”

Cain gave her a sympathetic little laugh. “It’s okay; you’re allowed to be curious. I won’t tell anyone,” he added, conspiratorially. Felicity tried to regain her composure and think of something to change the subject but before she’d the chance, he answered her question. “If you continue to think of it as ‘wine’, different people are like different vintages, if you will. Some are similar,” he eyed her, a bit hesitantly. “some are very unique.” After a moment, he then gave a little laugh. “I suppose you could consider animal blood to be watered down grape juice in comparison.”

Cain had never denied her any information that she asked after, but she still felt as though this were a very rare and privileged conversation; one only relegated to the middle of the night in a dimly lit room. A conversation which she would not have the courage to continue at another time. She decided that if she was going to satisfy her curiosities, she ought to do it now while she still had the courage. “What’s it like for you, when you... feed, from a person I mean? Is it just... food?”

By the look on Cain’s face, she could tell that he thought she already knew the answer to that. “What do you think?”

She looked away for a moment, biting her lip and remembering when he’d drunk from her. “I think it’s… much more,” she answered reluctantly.

He seemed glad that she would admit it. “Much, much more.” Cain took another sip from his cup, but seemed to find it distasteful now.

Felicity nerved herself to repeat the real question. “So what’s it like, for you?”

He came out from behind the bar and leaned against it, in front of the bed. It seemed obvious that this was a topic that she had been avoiding all along. “You sure this is a can of worms you want opened luv?”

Felicity’s answer was quiet, but insistent. “I want to know.”

He sat down on the bed next to her, with his mug still in hand. Its content was so dark; it could almost be mistaken for black coffee… almost. Felicity raised her eyes from it to find him watching her inspect the cup with quiet amusement. She fidgeted a little and rested her hand on his leg.

Felicity was very interested in what he had to say and yet even through that, she could not help but be very physically aware of his body. He was only half dressed and so close to her on the bed. The temptation was great to try and rebury her questions back into her subconscious mind in lieu of other pursuits. Damn but the man was sexy!

She kept her eyes on his face, and chased indecent thoughts from her mind. He had lost his little smile and seemed to exude an odd sense of anticipation, over the conversation of blood and his vampire experiences. As though these were things he had been waiting to discuss. Like he could hardly believe she would finally ask, and was unsure how to answer in a way that she would accept and not be frightened of. “It’s kind of hard to explain.” He took her hand and kissed it. “It’s more the kind of thing you have to...” He then, in a bizarre gesture, dipped one of her fingers into the blood in his cup. “experience.”

He was holding her hand in front of her. She looked at her bloody finger then back at him, thinking ‘You’re crazy if you think I’m going to taste that!’. She moved her hand towards his mouth and looked away from him. Cain sucked the blood from her finger, almost as though it should be something seductive.

He leaned forward to make her meet his gaze. “Perhaps my experiences have caused me to view things differently than most. But it is only blood. ‘Tis not something vile or distasteful, really, just a natural thing. It’s in all of us, in one way or another. And to both of us, it means life.

The experience of drinking it however, from a vampire’s point of view, is something not easily relayed. Kind of like trying to describe sex to a virgin,”  he added with a grin.

Felicity pulled back her hand, trying to keep her mind from the remembrance of losing her virginity to him in the very bed she now sat upon. “Now you’re just teasing me.”

He stood up with a little laugh. “Good analogy though.” He went to put his cup down on the bar. “You must realize that this is not something I have all that much recent experience in.” He looked at her with a fond little smile. “But from what I remember from less enlightened days, most feeds were like... a one night stand. An intense, erotic encounter with someone you barely knew, that culminated in brief, fleeting ecstasy... Then you left them, and moved on.” She did not look very kindly upon that description, however accurate it may be.

He took on a gentler tone. “But then I learned to drink not to kill... And then I learned to drink not for food... Once I drank, for the experienceThat was something entirely different. You know that I don’t drink human blood any longer, not on a regular basis. You also should know that it is an experience like none other; for me, and for you.

To drink from a host, for a vampire, is the ultimate experience. Just as sex may be for a human being. Sex is meant to be pleasing for you. ‘Tis procreation; vital to the continuation of human existence and so, the Lord made it enjoyable as well.

While physical love in the human sense, is enjoyable still to the vampire; blood, that is true ecstasy. Blood is my ensured continuance, as well as being one half of the act of creating another. And so, acquiring blood is pleasurable to my body, as sex is to yours.

In order to assure cooperation from the one whom a vampire chooses to drink from, there is the venom. That ensures that your body will find it pleasurable as well.

Now, in the common order of things... in the world of ‘predator’ and ‘prey’, you may consider that a ‘dirty rotten trick’,” he said with a little laugh. He gently eased himself to sit back down on the bed next to her again. “But ours is not a common relationship, is it?”

Felicity gave him a shy smile and dropped her eyes to the bed sheets. “I think I see where this might be going.”

Cain sighed. “It doesn’t have to go anywhere. But I must submit that although it’s a comparison that you haven’t the perspective to fully appreciate... having sex without love, a ‘one night stand’ if you will, is like drinking from someone... for the blood. I can’t say why there should be a difference, but drinking from someone that you truly care for... that experience is like the difference between having sex, and making love.”

He continued cautiously, as though he knew he was moving into tender territory. “Drinking from you, for your mark... Well, I didn’t take much. I didn’t want to weaken or overly frighten you more than necessary. I never would have hurt you. But... drinking from you...” his voice dropped to the barest whisper, “was beyond divine.

I thanked God for my self control, because nothing less than iron will, could have pulled me from your throat that night.” He closed his eyes and seemed to breathe in her scent, to help recreate the moment in his mind. There was a moment of uneasy silence between them, as he recalled the experience.

She couldn’t bring herself to speak, so he asked the unvoiced question that had always lain between them. “That night... we never have spoken of it, not really. Your thoughts, impressions, feelings... and fears. To be honest, I’ve been afraid to ask.”

He seemed suddenly so vulnerable and frightened of her response. He was usually so confident, that those times when he did leave himself open to her, so obviously exposed emotionally, it melted her heart.

She gave a small smile and swallowed nervously. How could she possibly call up that memory again and then try to describe it?  “I don’t think I have the words.” She took a deep breath and forced herself to dig out the experience from her memories. She closed her eyes and could feel it as though it were happening again. Her rapid pulse, the prick and penetration of his fangs into her throat, the swooning dream state, the waves of...

She raised her eyes to his. “It wasdivine.”  Her voice trembled with the whispered confession and she felt choked, tears rising to her eyes. She couldn’t have said why, except that she had tried not to face it for so long, hidden it away, but she had known it all along of course.

She looked at him silently, her bottom lip slightly quivering. She knew what he wanted. Did she want it too? She would feel comforted to be marked, but that seemed almost an artificial reason. Part of her wanted to relive that experience, she did. She had just been loath to admit it to herself, until now. But another part of her was still afraid.

Not really afraid that he would hurt her. She trusted him, if he said he had sufficient control, she believed him. But she was frightened that to her mind, he would no longer be Cain, her safe and comforting rescuer. That he would become... something else. One of them… a monster.

Eventually she made a decision. She knew how to decide what she truly wanted, a way to see how she would feel about it. She told him in a quiet, little girl voice, what she needed him to do. “Change for me.”

Cain clearly did not like this turn of things. He was obviously worried to frighten her from him. It seemed as though he worried that, if she saw him that way, their relationship would not recover from the development. He answered her in a mumbling sort of voice, avoiding eye contact. “Oh, I don’t have to. I can do it at the last second, you wouldn’t even know... until you felt it.”

Felicity smiled. “What, you’re suddenly shy? I want to see.”

He tried to shrug it off. “You’ve seen others.”

“Not up close, not like this. And they’re not you,” she insisted.

Cain looked very reluctant and still had trouble meeting her eyes. “Sure you can handle it?”

Felicity put one finger to his chin to tilt his head to look at her, as he so often did to her. “Guess we’ll find out.”

Cain fidgeted on the bed next to her. He’d obviously like to decline, but she was determined not to let him. “You sure?” he asked one last time.

She let out an exasperated huff. “Are we going to do this or not?” Without another word, she watched as Cain closed his eyes, seeming to prepare himself mentally, and brought forth... the vampire within.

He didn’t change all that much really. It was a bit unsettling to see his cheek bones begin to move of their own accord. It was slight, but she was paying close attention. She noticed the sides of his face seemed to shift upwards a bit as his upper jawbone seemed to lengthen. To accommodate his fangs, she assumed. He kept his mouth closed, but his face did look subtly different in shape.

Then, he opened his eyes. Felicity had to force herself not to flinch. His eyes... they were a golden yellow color, rich and bright, like marigolds. They each had a long black pupil, like a cat’s. It was very disconcerting to see those golden orbs staring out from Cain’s face, where his beautiful marine blue eyes used to be.

Felicity stared at him a moment, then hesitantly reached up to brush the hair from his eyes. She let her fingers trail down the side of his face and then gently part his lips, pulling the corner of his upper lip up to one side, to see his fangs. An incredibly sharp and thin gleaming point was there. She quickly pulled her hand away.

She stared into his eyes a moment and then said in disappointed little voice, “I wish your eyes were still blue.”

She felt terrible when he looked down, almost ashamed. “What color are they?” he asked.

Now she looked at him with amazed wonder. “Don’t you know?”

He gave a little shrug. A vampire can’t see its reflection. I haven’t seen myself since I died.”

“They’re yellow.”

He gave her a small nod. “Figured as much. Maribeth’s are a very light golden orange, and most of my... offspring’s are light as well. But some vampire’s have red. Guess it depends on your... lineage.” He became increasingly uncomfortable, as she simply stared at him. “Are you done?”

Felicity couldn’t help but become indignant. “No.” She looked at him for a moment and then slowly leaned forward, to give him a soft, hesitant kiss on the mouth; sweet, deliberate and unrushed. After an initial startled moment, he began to kiss her back and she even bravely let her tongue very briefly enter his mouth. She was vaguely aware of his fangs, but it wasn’t distressing really. It was a kiss… from Cain. She then leaned back and looked into his eyes again. “Yes. I mean, whatever… it doesn’t matter. It’s still you.”

Cain stared at her for a moment and then shifted back to his human face. His eyes began to well up with unshed tears as he looked at her in wonder. “Have I ever told you how incredibly in love with you I am?” She smiled.

“I think you may have mentioned it, yeah.” They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment longer. “Not that it matters, but this is definitely a better look for you.”

Cain laughed. He was still looking at her in amazement. As though he couldn’t quite believe she was still there, and not frightened away from him. Felicity gave him another shy little smile. “Well, we’ve got some experimenting to do, don’t we?”

 

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