She’d been coming by his place lately. It was far unlike the beginning when they’d met in her office. Yet in between the phone calls, the unexpected visitors, and the latest additions to Toronto’s suspicious death count, it was clear that Dr. Natalie Lambert had little time for him there.
He’d rather not have her here at all but there really wasn’t anywhere else to go. She’d suggested a hotel on the weekends when she was off, but that was quickly dismissed. The logistics of it proved difficult for maintaining consistent records. He suspected that her understanding of the restrictions he was adamant about kept her from suggesting her apartment.
So instead Natalie Lambert came here to retrieve her data, but their awkward consultations further reminded him of the social skills he’d let fall to the wayside.
Over the last few decades he’s drifted in and out of several cities, rarely feeling the precious link to humanity he strove for. It had been frustrating. LaCroix had been unusually silent and Janette had been amusing herself with her latest diversion—a business—so he’d been left to his own devices. Consecutive disappointments and little time to recover in between left him vulnerable. Rather than bounce back all he’d managed to do was retreat from the mortal world with startling ease. In the past he’d always embraced society’s movement towards modernity and while it most certainly intrigued him, lately that push and reliance on technology only added to his feelings of isolation. Picking up and relocating was no longer as simple as it was even 30 years ago. He found it hard to believe that his disenchantment had been that potent, but all he had to do was look around his current surroundings and see otherwise. His self-imposed isolation had left his social skills atrophied, so he wasn’t the most agreeable person to be around.
He would use Dr. Lambert’s title to instill formality, distance, and also respect for her chosen profession. Calling her Natalie, as she’d come to insist, could only lead to trouble, but in the end he’d relented. It was a small concession to his detached demeanor.
Today Natalie’s visit was no different then any of the others. She was collecting blood samples and retrieving the log of his daily blood intake, in addition to other pieces of data. They’ve got it down to a routine—first she gathered information on his vital signs, then it was on to the drawing of his blood and finally the aspects of his body that were altered as a result of the vampire.
The eventuality of a more thorough exam loomed but for now Natalie seemed content with their current arrangement. However, if he was truly committed to this avenue of research he eventually would need to let down a few physical barriers. He wasn’t looking forward to the inevitable feelings of physical and emotional vulnerability. It’s somewhat odd that he would feel that way because, physically, at no time would he actually be relinquishing the upper hand. He just didn’t like the idea of exposing to a relative stranger what he’d spent almost an entire lifetime trying to hide and suppress, even if she was trying to help.
“Now open up and say ‘Ah’,” Natalie said in an attempt to examine his front teeth. Her playful word choice and light tone left him a bit mystified, which apparently showed on his face.
“No?” Her face mirrored the bemusement in her voice. “Hey cut me some slack. My bed side manner is a bit on the rusty side. Breathing patients are novelty for me. Now seriously, Nick, I do need you to open up.”
She’s young; perhaps a bit too young, he sometimes thought, to possibly have the experience to deal with his unique situation. She couldn’t be more than a year or two out of her residency, yet here they were trying to unlock the mysteries behind his vampirism.
She’s also pretty…very pretty. That wasn’t hard to see but it was something he chose not to dwell on. That type of thinking could lead to complications he’d much rather avoid. It was much safer to think about Natalie in relation to her professional capacity. Besides, Natalie’s very presence in this isolated space he’d appropriated for himself was risky enough for reasons other than her physical attractiveness. He wasn’t the only one who could hurt her. There are those who are charged with protecting the secret of their existence. She knew as much and with each session she became more involved. When did curiosity cross the line into stupidity he wondered idly?
Surprisingly, though, their association has been an education. They were only starting out but what he had seen was fascinating. It tugged at memories of his own first hand knowledge of medicine on both the giving and receiving end.
In the past his experiences with doctors, scientists, and specialists, when he was the subject, had ended badly. Medical science had undergone remarkable breakthroughs over the years but the experiences themselves left him wary. Thankfully, he hadn’t received that type of reception from Natalie. He didn’t see dreams of fame and fortune in her eyes, only compassion and curiosity. He still didn’t like being poked and prodded but he had to admit that having an attractive, young woman tending to him did make the experience a bit more tolerable. Leaning back on his chair by the kitchen table he could observe the movements of her hands—precise and methodical—exactly the same way she was approaching him. It was so unlike the curious, gentle caress she’d given him on the night of their first encounter; a night that wasn’t so long ago and remained fresh on his mind.
While Natalie busied herself with some items in her medical bag, he casually noted that her suit didn’t leave much to the imagination. It wasn’t revealing by any means but the warm late afternoon had Natalie clothed appropriately. A light camisole peaked out at him from underneath her blazer and the slit in her skirt revealed more of her thighs.
He absently rebuked himself for his inappropriate ogling and his thoughts went back to their arrangement. He really hadn’t thought about it too much but here, within the confines of his sparsely furnished loft and away from the harsh backdrop of the morgue, it was easy to get lost in what she represented. Natalie Lambert and her simple assurance to try and help him had given him hope. Here it was just them and all the privacy needed for their research into scientific miracles.
From her position against the kitchen table she leaned over him in an almost awkward way but it allowed her to get the necessary readings. After she jotted down the information in her notebook, Natalie retrieved a penlight from her bag and shone it into his eyes as she talked.
“I’ve been looking at the analysis of your previous samples. I’m becoming more convinced that slowly decreasing your blood intake and replacing it with something of nutritional value could be very promising. We’ll see how that goes and work from there.”
Intelligence hadn’t always been an admirable trait in a woman but it was something he found very attractive in Natalie Lambert. She’s very much a product of her times--a 20th century woman--independent, passionate, and ready to stand her ground. He’d learned all that after only a few encounters. What more could he learn as they progressed further into their arrangement? Would he be able to keep her at the distance that he’s managed so far? He hoped so for her safety but still…watching Natalie hover over him always brought her so very close. And Natalie Lambert was
pretty. Pretty…what a nice safe descriptor and safe was exactly what he needed. So why had he been unable to stop thinking about the touch of her hands? It was all very tempting. She’s close…so close that he could observe her earrings flutter with her every movement.
“What?” She asked when she sensed his gaze. There’s curiosity in her eyes.
He didn’t think. He just cupped the side of her face, his thumb lightly grazed her cheek, and drew her near. She didn’t resist but she didn’t encourage either. His mouth lingered just above her lower lip, teasing her with his proximity, his intentions clear. If Natalie was interested she’d have to issue an invitation. When the slightest hint of tongue appeared to moisten her lips, he acted. On instinct he captured the lip between his own. A nip here, a nip there and then with as much understatement as he’d begun, Natalie began to respond with her own gentle exploration. He could hear her heart rate increase as their leisurely kiss continued. Her mouth was wonderfully pliant and when Natalie dared to brush her tongue against his, he welcomed her assuredness with his own.
In response to their increased urgency her hands moved to his shoulders to steady herself. The warmth of her hands burned through the fabric of his shirt. What had started out as a curiosity on his part had now grown into a full blown need. He wanted her…to feel her...to hear her cry out.
With a start he rose and closed the space between them, forcing her backwards onto the table’s edge. She didn’t shrink back at his sudden movement. Natalie merely cocked her chin upward and looked right into his eyes, daring him—to do what exactly he wasn’t quite sure, but the boldness was there.
Hands reaching for her thighs he lifted her onto the table. For a second her eyes widened in surprise but she quickly regained her composure. Not once did she exhibit fear. Fear of him, fear of what he could do. It was arousing in ways both the man and the vampire could understand.
Moving into the hollow between her legs he descended vigorously on her lips. Her mouth opened with ease and allowed him entry. Natalie snaked her arms around his neck and anchored herself to him. The warmth of her was intoxicating and he thirsted for more. His kiss was demanding as he tried to quench this very mortal desire—physical and emotional contact with another human being. Natalie’s tongue caressed his own with fervor and Nick conceded control of their kiss to her. A groan of contentment erupted from the back of her throat.
The scent of her blood began to weave in with the aroma of her perfume, the lingering scent of soap, and the most potent of the four—her growing arousal. They’d only briefly touched upon the sensitivity of his olfactory system so he shot her a knowing grin when they parted. The realization played out on her face: slight embarrassment, annoyance, and then accepting desire. Eventually Natalie rewarded him with a smirk of her own as she arched her body towards his. Inching towards him she left a trail of heated, open mouthed kisses on his stubbled jaw line. Her attention, so close to his sensitive neck, made him shiver in anticipation.
Her throaty whisper tickled his ear and her request went straight to his groin but it also threatened to push him over the edge. He could hear her heart racing and her body radiated more warmth than he’d felt in years. Not yet. He needed a little more time— more time to savor her. He shut his eyes in an attempt to delay the inevitable golden hued change to his surroundings. The aching gums above his canines began to threaten release. Natalie must have sensed the tension in him because she stilled to allow him time. Her hands rubbed languid circles on the muscles of his back.
Breathe in, breathe out. Wrapped in each other the seconds ticked by until he was ready to make the call. Natalie’s life depended on it.
Confident that the vampire could be kept at bay a little longer Nick pulled back and gave Natalie a slight nod of assurance. Right now he was happy just to study her. He traced the line of her chin and stroked her swollen lips with his thumb. He found that he liked seeing this side of her. She looked back at him with hooded eyes. A light flush was visible within the open collar of her blazer.
She noticed his preoccupation and promptly shed the bothersome blazer. Its removal allowed him a better view of the camisole that had seduced him earlier. The rosy hue of the fabric complimented the cream of her skin. Up and over and then it was gone as well. A delicate, nude colored bra encased her breasts. The twin mounds rose above their enclosure as she breathed. She’s lovely and he couldn’t help but touch her. His fingers traced an imaginary path across her skin, down her throat and into the valley between her breasts. The ever present heat she gave off was so inviting and so forbidden. He smiled when he felt a light shiver run through her body.
“Hey,” she said, calling his attention upwards. “I’m up here.”
A teasing smile tugged at the corner of her lips and he knew his own face must mirror hers.
“Just enjoying the view,” he remarked shamelessly.
“Oh is that what you were doing?”
Before he could respond Natalie wrapped her legs around his calves and brought their bodies together. At the contact they both gasped with pleasure. He was encased within the security of her legs and his confined erection twitched at the contact with her warmth. Natalie shuddered at its presence against her thigh. He dropped kisses across an exposed shoulder and his hands traveled up her bare legs, easing them underneath her skirt. His mouth assaulted hers once more and Natalie’s hands clutched at his hair with an unyielding grasp. The feel of her body flush against his, with all its feminine curves, continued to tempt the vampire that threatened just beneath the surface.
He hadn’t been this close to a mortal woman in years. It was too dangerous to get even casually involved but now here he was with Natalie, his doctor and potential savior, wrapped around him. They shouldn’t be doing this. He shouldn’t have gotten her involved.
Why couldn’t she be older? Why couldn’t she be married? Why couldn’t she be a man?
The sensation of Natalie undulating against him was exquisite. She wanted this just as much as he did and he wanted nothing more than to oblige her.
He tore himself away from her, which caused her to whimper in disapproval, but the look of danger in Natalie’s eyes was worth the separation when she realized what he planned to do. The hands on her upper legs reached towards her underwear. The heat in her core was palpable and with Natalie’s assistance he lowered them and finally dropped them unceremoniously near his feet.
His probing fingers found her hot and slick and a strangled gasp escaped her along with the warmth that coated his fingers. She grasped onto his arms, her nails dug into the fabric of his shirt. The sound and feel of her desire fully awakened the slumbering vampire within him and the world was suddenly cast in a golden sheen. In alarm he hastily removed his fingers from her body. With Natalie in her vulnerable state she could so easily become prey…his prey.
From her own passion induced haze Natalie slowly registered the change in him and the danger he possessed.
“I trust you.” She said before her lips caressed his cheek with a seemingly effortless and chaste kiss. It was a strong contrast to their current envelopment, his recent invasion of the most intimate region of her body, and her current state of undress.
“You shouldn’t.” The vampire responded. “You don’t even know me.” He hated that Natalie might be held captivated by the same vampiric thrall that he’d seen so many women under.
“You want to be good.” He saw her struggling to put together a thought and the knowledge that he did that to her enflamed the arrogant vampire. “You live here all alone…away from the people you want to join, always watching. Is denying yourself human contact the way to reach your humanity?”
Perhaps he’d never really looked at her but in that moment he saw in her face the look of a woman completely at peace with everything around her, including the vampire that had rocked her orderly scientific world. “I trust you not to hurt me.”
She wanted him, not the vampire. This strange woman, filled with the confidence of her youth and her intelligence, wanted what he could offer her without the erotic allure giving her blood might have. His hunger for her blood had tempered but he still hungered for her—for something that could only be released through her fulfillment.
Unlike the probing and demanding kisses they shared their next kiss was marked with unyielding sensuality. His hands swept over her exposed body. The column of her throat, while exquisite, didn’t hold the appeal as the other hidden secrets of her body. Once again seeking the depths between her legs, he was greeted with the same intoxicating heat. Watching her face he saw the building satisfaction he brought her with his touch.
He could feel her inner muscles closing in around his fingers and her breath hitched when he hit a particularly sensitive spot. Her hips continued to rock towards him in desperate abandon as she searched for release.
The tableau they must form thrilled him. Natalie, almost entirely nude, open and exposed for him, ready for his every whim, while he remained fully clothed before her. His name rose to her lips but she always fell short before completing it. Slowing his movements ever so slightly he was greeted with a strained “Nick”. Not “Nicholas” or “Nicolas” but “Nick”. He wasn’t LaCroix’s disobedient and eccentric son or Janette’s doting companion. He wasn’t even the fallen 13th century crusader, not really. By his own choosing he was just Nick and that’s how Natalie thought of him. She was unaware of it but she’d just given him a gift—acknowledgement of the identity he’d chosen, not one that had been assigned to him.
He was more determined than ever to give her the release she sought. Natalie’s eyes were hooded with want but they remained locked with his, never once shying away from him. Not once did she shield her eyes from the vampire before her.
She was so close. He could tell. His thumb grazed her clitoris with a little more force and a strangled cry escaped her lips. She was a vision of unmitigated, carnal desire. Natalie’s breath came out in hot bursts, she stiffened as she trembled with pleasure. She was beautiful—so reckless and free.
The silence in the room enveloped them. Completely spent, Natalie’s arms hung loosely around him and her face remained hidden in the crook of his neck. Her breath was shaky and he stroked her back, mimicking Natalie’s earlier actions. Her unique musk filled his nostrils and it wholly enchanted the darkness within him. Natalie’s sated blood, filled with the remnants of her arousal, would be amazingly sweet. The pumping of her heart called to him with the promise of something more and his restricted erection reminded him that his own release was still imminent.
Rather than give in to the dangerous temptation, he distracted himself with the knowledge that his control was a hard won victory. This was what he wanted; a beautiful woman in his arms comfortable in his presence without fear of impending death. He could be human again and Natalie could help him achieve it. The vampire within would be denied its triumph.
A small chuckle reverberated from Natalie and it distracted him from his thoughts. Pulling back to look at him her face reflected the same buoyancy and ease she’d shown since he met her. He found it utterly charming but had been unwilling to say so.
“Don’t think this gets you off the hook for the regimen I’ve got planned for you.”
Despite the hunger that still gnawed at him he couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by a wave of tenderness towards her. Natalie’s eyes shone back at him full of mischief and when he moved to stroke her face…
Natalie’s voice startled him with its sense of gravity but that was the least of his worries. Gone was the dull hunger he’d presently felt but in its place was a feeling of disturbing disorientation. Gone was the sated Natalie he’d held in his arms. Instead she stood fully clothed, penlight in hand and eyebrows furrowed together.
The most striking feature on her face looked questioningly back at him. Blinking several times to help him assess what had just happened, he hazarded another glance towards her. Blue eyes that he’d imagined full of want now looked at him with concern.
“Yeah?” He answered, a bit jarred. What just happened?
“You with me? You sort of drifted off for a minute there.”
“Fine,” he responded after a deep cleansing breath. He couldn’t quite look at her. All he saw in his mind’s eye was the look of rapture on her face.
“I said I’ve got a regimen planned for you…nutritionally,” she said after a slight hesitation.
He should have been paying more attention but he couldn’t. Phrases like “protein supplement” and “iron deficiency” danced in his ear but his mind was on other things.
It wasn’t real. Not one bit of it had been real. His so called victory was no more than his imagination. He should have known. Right now he could only dream of having that type of restraint. Especially, in the face of such temptation. He’d had a moment of weakness in the presence of an attractive and compassionate woman and he’d allowed a fantasy to take root. On impulse, he’d acted on the desires of the man rather than think things through. What would have happened if he’d truly lost control and followed through with his needs? This brief loss of clarity shouldn’t be allowed to repeat itself. Natalie wanted to help him not be his next victim or the instrument used to test his boundaries with mortals.
When he was finally able to look at her again he could see the enthusiasm in her behind a properly constructed veneer of control. It had only been a few weeks but it was obvious that the challenge he was presenting her had Natalie’s mind working at a frenzied state. Redirecting his attention to the vast space that was currently his home, he watched as the streaks of sunlight, visible through the slightly open metal shutters, cast the floor with streaks of muted death. The late afternoon had transformed into dusk as the sun continued its journey westward. It would be night soon.
It took him a few moments to realize that Natalie was no longer speaking. The look on her face was one of guarded annoyance as she waited for some kind of acknowledgement that he’d heard her. Instead he continued his detached appraisal of what his one year in Toronto had brought him—not much he decided.
“So tell me, any plans to get out more?” He heard Natalie ask. She gestured towards the sparsely furnished room. “You spend a lot of time alone don’t you? Is your control around people a problem?”
“I can control myself around mortals,” He replied, irritable at her assumption. “I’ve had centuries of practice Dr. Lambert.”
For just a second a brief flash of hurt crossed Natalie’s features before she schooled them into a nondescript look of indifference. He’d caught her off guard. Good, it’s best she not forget what she’s dealing with. Although it troubled him that hurting her feelings affected him as much as it did. He was already beginning to care what she thought.
“Really? Well you certainly fooled me given this enchanting personality of yours.”
Her voice was laced with frustration. The main living area of the loft was suddenly too small for them both and he rose from his seat to put some distance between them. It was the first time her words had expressed anything other than scientific interest. It was quite refreshing actually.
“Fine then, do what you want. But if this is to work you’ve got to meet me half way Nick. Unless of course you’ve changed your mind then…then just say the word and I’m out of here.”
She’s right. He’s going to have to let her in. If their arrangement was going to reap results he had to cooperate. He couldn’t continue with this detached existence he’d been living. One year in this city and he had nothing to show for it and it was no one’s fault but his own.
“OK then. It looks like we’re done here.”
Snapping the closures on her bag shut, she picked up her purse and turned on her heel towards the loft’s elevator. She’d taken his silence as a dismissal. He really should let her go. Perhaps it was all for the best. What was he thinking getting an innocent involved in his world? This way it’ll be a clean break, before they both got in too deep. He could snap himself out of this disenchantment he’s in. He didn’t need her help. He could start trying to make a contribution again.
He didn’t need her for that.I trust you
“Natalie I’m sorry.” He heard his voice ring out over the sound of the door being slid open. He did need her. He liked having her in his corner. She paused, half in and half out, between a world of normalcy and that of unspeakable danger. “I shouldn’t have snapped at you. I’ve got a lot on my mind.
Behind her the door slammed shut as she stepped back into the room. She looked out the window before glancing at her watch. “I’ve got some time.”
He’d like to take her up on her offer but…maybe next time, when the memory of her willing and passionate in his arms wasn’t as potent. Natalie saw his hesitation and nodded her head in silent acceptance.
“I’ve held down jobs before…around mortals. It’s just been a while.” He hoped she’d take that bit of information as a peace offering and he was rewarded when he saw one of her eyebrows arch in surprise.
“Well then I guess we’re just going to have to ease you back into your comfort zone. Don’t deny yourself human contact Nick. You’re not doing yourself any favors.”
He smiled at her advice and its resemblance to the words of his dream Natalie.
“I’ll try to remember that. Thank you and I’ll see you next week if that’s OK with you?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she responded with a smile of her own. She retreated back into the elevator and offered him a small wave in farewell just as the door closed shut.
Natalie would be back next week. She’ll be back and they’ll follow the same routine they’ve set up. He didn’t quite open up but it was a start. He couldn’t reason what had brought upon today’s flight of the imagination. He was lonely. He knew that but he’d gone through periods of prolonged solitude before. This should have been no different but apparently it was. Being mortal meant living a mortal life among mortals, not confined to the fringes ‘watching’. He couldn’t change his behavior overnight but he could start but showing the strange new woman in his life some civility. They’ll just have to take it from there.