He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen.
Or maybe not ever. But the most beautiful I had seen in many years.
He could be described as dark, tall and generally very good-looking, but that wasn't what had caught my attention. No, it was the way he walked, talked, sat, pulled out his wallet, lifted his glass and just, owned the space. His hair was a bit too long for the current trend, messy and dark brown with a hint of red glimmering in odd strands when the light hit them. His neck was long, widening to broad shoulders, tanned skin disappearing underneath his shirt which advertised a movie I hadn't seen or a band I didn't know. Or perhaps it was a video game. I keep forgetting that nowadays it is perfectly okay to wear a shirt with an image of a video game printed on it – it doesn't mean a downward spiral of your social status. The shirt hugged his frame all the way down to his narrow waist and hips. He seemed to be smiling or laughing every time I dared to glance his way, mirth reaching his hazel eyes. Maybe that was why he was so popular. I hadn't checked how long I had been waiting for him to be alone but it had to be hours. The night was fading into early morning, I could sense it; the point where carefree chatting grew into goal-driven conversations which then eventually turned into the decisive 'Your place or mine?'
So, he was beautiful. He was tall and dark. He was hot as hell. He was also a human. Which I wasn't. Not anymore.
However, there was another significant thing that I was and he wasn't.
"Sorry, dude, not gay," he said, his voice relatively friendly, but I could sense a hint of something else behind the words. Disgust? Discomfort? Annoyance? As in 'Why do you disturb me while I'm trying to have a fun night out?' Didn't he see he was doing the same thing to the ladies in the club? Or maybe he wasn't. From what I had seen, no girl seemed to mind his approaches. He was way too charming.
Maybe he was just taken aback because of my appearance. My face sometimes did it to people. Too pale, despite the make-up, too eerie, too... weird. I think his eyes landed on my mouth for a split of second before he yanked them back up to meet mine.
"You should try your luck in the club around the corner," he added. Oh, so he was kind enough to offer me advice. I had been turned down in nastier ways, but it still stung. I muttered something unimportant and walked back to my end of the counter, nodding to the bartender to pour me something clear and strong. While sipping my drink, I threw glances in Mr. Hot-n-Gorgeous' general direction. If he noticed me still stalking him, he didn't acknowledge it in any way, too busy chatting with girls who had returned from the bathroom. While nursing my drink, the taste of vodka sour and bitter on my tongue, I wondered which one of them he was going to take home.
Contrary to a popular belief, we can get drunk. Alcohol just fucks our system up way worse than humans'. The hangover is beyond belief and makes you question your every life choice. That's why we usually keep our distance from the booze. That, and the fact that alcohol is not served in our gatherings, despite our kin being all about drinking. But if the human you drink from has had more than a few glasses of champagne, it transfers to you and you get a little woozy. Not drunk-drunk, but tipsy. That's not too bad. It's different when you decide to discard your carefully planned diet and just pour the booze down your throat directly.
Mr. Hot-n-Gorgeous was explaining the incident to the ladies buzzing around him. He was discreet enough to not point in my direction, but his description must have been pretty accurate as the girls peered at me, smug smiles plastered on their lips. I considered changing locations, heading to the club around the corner, just like the target of my stalking had suggested. As my other times in The Pink Void, I'd probably find someone to warm my bed for the rest of the night, and if I was hungry at the break of dawn, the unlucky fellow could serve as my supper. If not, I'd just send him away before I'd have to hit the sack for real. No strings attached either way.
For some reason I stayed at my seat, forcing the vodka down sip by sip, keeping my eyes on the guy. A familiar ache was lifting its head inside, making my blood bubble and nerves tingle. I felt a faint stinging in my gums, around my canines. The beast within was beginning to stir. It had been three nights since my last warm meal.
Yes, I'm a vampire. Cliché, huh? No, I didn't ask to be one. No, I don't think being a vampire is the best thing since portable steam cleaners. Sometimes it's merely inconvenient, sometimes it sucks ass. It's restrictive and the diet is very limited. Sure, you'll live forever but even that gets boring after a while. It gets lonely. You are only ever supposed to interact with your own kind. Interacting with humans is allowed if it's necessary, like during hunting or, say, you wish to rent an apartment. But a vampire is not supposed to form any kind of close relationship with a human, be it friendship, love or mere business partnership. Although, I'm sure there are a lot of vampires that break the rules and get away with it. I just don't know anyone personally, at least not at the moment. It's kind of hard to get to know someone when you can only meet them after dark, you never eat anything, barely drink anything... yeah, a vampire makes a rather dull friend. Not to mention the tiny detail that eventually even the dumbest, most uneducated moron of a human would grow suspicious.
I knew it was a bad idea to get drunk. There's another rule amongst vampires: Never drink alcohol and hunt. Worst case scenario, you get yourself killed. Even if you managed to drag your sorry drunken ass out of the incident alive, you'd leave too many traces behind. I mean, that's common sense, isn't it? Drinking makes you sloppy.
Too bad it's quite hard to remember the rules when you're fucking smashed.
Mr. Hot-n-Gorgeous stayed at the club almost until closing time. He also stayed put in his seat, occasionally ordering another drink for himself and his numerous fans. After watching their interaction for a few hours, I came to the conclusion that he wasn't genuinely interested in any of them. Didn't mean he wouldn't take one them home. Uninteresting partners worked best for one-night stands.
I was surprised to see him leave the club alone. It was probably around three in the morning, I didn't bother to check. I scrambled to my feet, hurrying after him, bumping into a couple of drunken clubbers on my way. The floor was swaying, the edges of my vision were blurring and I almost walked straight into a wall before I realized there was a giant mirror in my way. Holy fuck, I was smashed. Had I chosen any other target, I would have probably forgotten about the hunt, but I couldn't let the man of my dreams escape.
Breena once said I'm a stubborn drunk. As it happens, I'm a stubborn person in general, but apparently gulping down some booze doubles the trait.
Damn, I miss her sometimes. Why can't she just get herself a mobile phone so we could talk without our parents finding out?
A chilly breeze hit my face the minute I stepped outside. Turning my head left and right, I spotted my target walking down the street, heading to a bus stop or U-Bahn. He was still alone, but naturally, living in a metropolis and everything, the streets were not empty. There is a good reason why vampires don't usually hunt downtown. I needed to somehow get him to step to a side alley or another quiet location.
As I followed him from a safe distance, I saw him turn right, between two large buildings, away from the street lights and company of passers-by. I hoped he was taking a detour. If he lived down that alley, I would have to kiss my plans goodbye (which probably would have been the best) if I didn't want to break into a building. I quickened my steps, my head just slightly sobered from the cool night air and the sudden opportunity presented in front of me. My coordination was still rather off and I collided with a man who was even more drunk than I.
"Hey, fuckin' watch where you're going, fag!"
I didn't stop to confront him about his words as I reached the corner where Mr. Hot-n-Gorgeous had turned and froze when I didn't see him.
Shit. I had lost the sight of him for ten seconds tops. Where could he have hidden? Had he been aware of me following him, after all? But I hadn't seen him look behind, and human senses were useless, anyway. I scurried along the alley, not caring if my boots clacked against the pavement. There weren't any entrances to apartment blocks, only closed shop doors and garbage bins. Then I spotted another alley, running between a barber's shop and a Chinese restaurant, and hurried to it, cursing my lack of discretion. What kind of bloody idiot gets themselves wasted before a hunt?
I saw him right away. It was kind of hard not to, since the alley was narrow and otherwise empty. His pace was brisk yet calm, his hands tucked in the pockets of his jacket, the hem flapping behind him, not a trace of consumed alcohol in his steps. In less than half a minute he would be back in a lit street and my chance would be gone.
I attacked. He managed to spin around and I saw his eyes widen before I pushed his head out of the way and sunk my teeth into his neck. The first burst of his blood, warm, sharp and masculine, filled my mouth, wiping away the sourness of vodka and rushing into my head, fighting with the drunken numbness.
He fought back. I had been prepared for it. What I hadn't been prepared for was how strong he was. He was more muscular than I, but he was no body builder. Maybe he did martial arts. In combat between a human and a vampire, the vampire almost always wins. But if the vampire is somehow weakened, be it due to starvation or, say, state of intoxication, things might turn around. A weakened vampire should never attack a human capable of defending themselves. A weakened vampire should never attack a young, healthy man, especially if they had been poisoning themselves with liqueur.
He kicked me, first in the shin and then in the stomach, knocking the wind out of me. His hand found my collar and he pulled me off of his neck, cursing loudly.
"What the fuck are you doing?! Fucking freak!"
He threw me to the ground. I landed on my ass, the blow resonating through my spine and making my teeth clank together. He pressed his hand against the side of his neck, but the liquid seeped between his fingers, painting the collar of his jacket crimson. He was strong and not nearly as drunk as I, but I had bitten into his jugular vein and the blood was pumping out with every beat of his heart. Soon not even the adrenaline rush would keep him on his feet.
"The fuck do you think you are?! Some kind of vampire?"
Oh, the irony. I snorted. I considered answering him but I had a job to finish, and his shouting might lure some unwanted company. Folding my legs underneath me, I pushed myself up, brushing off dust and gravel that clung to my pants. And then I leaped.
He had no time to react as I moved too fast for the human eye to see, this time attacking the other side of his neck, aiming for the main artery there. This would cause the majority of his blood to end up on his clothes instead of in my mouth, but my main priority was to get him unconscious. My canines pierced his skin and more blood flooded into my mouth. I drank as much as I could before he managed to land another blow, this time grabbing my hair and yanking my head back, and right afterwards delivering a shameless, merciless knee to my groin.
That dropped me onto my knees. Shit, vampire or not, it still hurts like hell to get kicked in the nuts. I groaned in pain, toppling over to my side, clutching my abused junk as if holding it would make the pain dissipate.
Mr. Hot-n-Gorgeous was panting heavily, trying to decide which side of his neck required more attention. He pulled out his phone, fumbling a little because of all the blood in his fingers. Great, now he was going to call the police. I needed to flee.
But then he wavered. No, he swayed. And then he staggered, his knees buckling and his eyes glazing over. The phone slipped from his hand, the screen crashing into pieces as it hit the pavement. He didn't fall but sat down, supporting his upper body long enough to reach a wall and lean against it. His lids were drooping, but eyes kept searching me out, questioning and accusing.
"What the hell..." he began, trailing off as the rest of his sentence died on his lips and he lost consciousness.
Grunting in pain, I got to my feet and went to him. I ran my fingers through my hair before I remembered they were bloody. My coat was practically ruined and I had torn my trousers when my ass had hit the pavement. This had been the messiest hunt in the history of messy hunts, my personal record, no doubt about that. And now I was facing yet another problem. How I was supposed to get my prey to my apartment? Vampires did possess inhuman strength, but I lived like 20 kilometres away, almost in the suburbs. There was no way I could carry him there. How suspicious would it look if I dragged a half-dead man to the U-Bahn? His upper body was covered in blood and he was as limp as a paralyzed jellyfish. Fuck. I clearly hadn't thought this through.
In the end I covered his neck and shoulders with my scarf as best as I could and hailed a taxi.
The driver gave us a funny look as we crawled into the backseat. And by crawl, I mean I pushed Mr. Hot-n-Gorgeous-n-Almost-Dead in and tried to arrange his body in a sitting position. To tell the truth, it was nothing short of a miracle that the driver had even stopped. We looked like we were coming out of a massacre, even without my coat which I had dumped in a trash bin.
"My friend had a bit too much to drink," I explained. Only then it dawned to me that I might have tell-tale splashes of red around my mouth and I nearly panicked before I remembered that people didn't believe in vampires and the most probable explanation the driver would come up was that I had been punched. That theory would support the sight of my out-cold companion. "And we got into a fight," I added. "You know, some guys don't appreciate same-sex couples..." Stop babbling, you idiot!
The driver didn't seem to care about our status or recent history. He just eyed me, his brows furrowing in disapproval. "Just make sure he doesn't puke in the car. I'm gonna make you pay for cleaning if you ruin the seats."
"He won't puke," I said. I just hoped he wouldn't stop breathing before we made it to my place and I could finish what I had started.
"The same goes to the blood. Don't make a mess in my taxi. So, where do you wanna go? Hospital?"
"No, just take us home." I told him the address. He clearly thought we should have gotten ourselves checked but didn't press it, instead resetting the meter and turning the car around to the direction I had given him.